During the reign of the fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck Bhutan underwent a period of political reformation and decentralization. Early in his reign His Majesty formed the Dzongkhag Yargay Tshogdue (District Developmental Committee) where elected members of the committee represented the development concerns of the individual districts. In 1998 he voluntarily gave up his absolute powers. In 2001, he set forth the wheels of Democracy and his own impeachment by sending every household a draft of the constitution for their review and endorsement. This year is a landmark in the history of Bhutan as it marks the second year of the new democratic Government. In March 24, 2008 the Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) won a landslide victory from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the DPT’s leader Lyonchoen Jigme Y. Thinley became the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Bhutan. PDP won the second elections held in 2013 and is currently the ruling party. DPT is in the opposition and Honorable Dr. Pema Gyamtsho is the Opposition leader. PDP’s president, Lyonchoen Tshering Tobgay became the second democratically elected Prime Minister of Bhutan.
The Fourth King of Bhutan’s successor the fifth King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck remains the Head of State. He is also known as the “People’s King” and famously popular as K5.
Mirroring his fathers approach to modernization His Majesty King Jigme Singye Wangchuck adopted a cautious and measured platform while steering the nation on the path of progress. Bhutan’s socio-economic development is guided by the development philosophy Gross National Happiness (GNH). The concept of GNH promotes four pillars that guides the national objectives and identifies the priorities and needs of the Bhutanese people. GNH comprises four tenets: economic self-reliance, environmental preservation, cultural promotion, and good governance which are interwoven into the fabric of Bhutanese society.
During his rule Bhutan has received all round development. Bhutan developed an extensive network of foreign allies, Bhutan joined NAM in 1973 (Non Aligned Movement) and became a founding member of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) in 1985. His Majesty improved the standard of living of his people by developing industry, hydropower electricity and agriculture. The Chukka power project contributed Nu. 2,092.682 million to revenue of Bhutan and exported electricity to the areas of West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Sikkim and Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) of India. Similar hydropower projects are in the works.
The global community has recognized his noble and invaluable contributions and named him as one of TIME magazine’s 100 People Who Shape Our World in 2006.