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Bhutan became a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy in 2008 when the first parliamentary elections took place.

In that year, the country’s erstwhile unicameral parliament, the National Assembly, gave way to the new bicameral parliament. The parliament of Bhutan comprises the bicameral parliament (National Assembly and National Council) and Druk Gyalpo.

The National Assembly (NA), the lower house, consists of 47 members elected from the 47 constituencies in 20 districts. The party winning a simple majority in the NA forms the government and the other party forms the opposition.

The National Council (NC), the upper house or the house of review, consists of 25 members – 20 of them directly elected from 20 districts and five eminent members appointed by His Majesty the King. The NC has the dual role of lawmaking and review.

Each of the parliamentary houses consists of a number of committees such as Socio-cultural Committee, Women and Children Committee, and Information and Media Committee that presents issues, legislation, and concerns to Parliament for deliberation. The houses are in session at least twice a year. A joint sitting of Parliament is convened when the houses do not find agreement on a bill.

Any bill passed by Parliament is submitted to Druk Gyalpo for the royal assent. An act passed by Parliament becomes a law upon the royal assent. The prime minister and cabinet ministers are appointed by His Majesty the King.

Anyone wishing to stand for a parliamentary seat should be at least 25 years of age and must have a Bachelor’s degree. An MP (apart from the prime minister, ministers, speaker, and NC chairperson who wear an orange scarf) wears a blue ceremonial scarf and a sword. Deliberations in Parliament are held in Dzongkha, the national language.  

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