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Bhutan: Democracy wins over Monarchy
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Democracy is the trend of world politics

The Beijing News: Many Bhutanese people don't think it's necessary to carry out a reform. They just wonder why reform is needed when everything is just fine. If the masses are satisfied with monarchy, is it really necessary to implement a democratic reform?

Wang Zhanyang: Generally speaking, there are two ways that lead to democracy: top-down reform, and down-top revolution. Bhutan should implement democratic reform actively when the whole situation is favorable, instead of being forced to do it by encountering a revolutionary situation. The senior King said: "I'm trying to be a good king who loves his people. But I can't say that all the successive kings will be good. To ensure long-term happiness for Bhutanese people we must promote democracy, because an effective political system is more important than a throne. The King supposes that globalization has brought opportunities for Bhutan. Modernization and democratization are inevitable for the development of Bhutan. The King does have foresight.

The Beijing News: We have always been alert to "strong-man politics". Liberalism also is against large scale system building, advocating that society should develop spontaneously.

Wang Zhanyang: During some historical junctures, a strong man seemed indispensable: reforms were hampered if no strong man stepped up. The history of world democracy tells us that it can be achieved only when spontaneous social forces and the power of strong man are combined. There are many significant leaders who advanced their countries' democratization, such as Oliver Cromwell in Britain, George Washington in America, Napoleon Bonaparte in France, and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in Turkey.

The Beijing News: What political systems are becoming global trends?

Wang Zhanyang: Definitely it's democratization. Modern democracy has extended across the world since 17th century. Colonialism collapsed in the 20th century, leaving more space for democracy. As a human development trend, it accords with human nature: people desire freedom, and democracy is a guard for freedom. Therefore, democracy is not accidental but rather irresistible. No hint of reversal about this trend is detected at present.

Democratic practices in Bhutan

  • In the late 1970s, King Jigme Singye Wangchuck put forward the concept of GNH, a concept featuring equality, efficient administration, and harmonious coexistence with nature, with a happy life as the ultimate goal.

  • Later in June 1998, the King disbanded his cabinet and shifted administrative power to ministerial committees.

  • In September 2001 the King ordered that a new constitution be drafted in order to abolish the monarchy and create a democratic country.

  • In December 2006 his successor advanced this democratic reform.

  • In March 2008, for the first time in Bhutan, its House of Representatives elected a democratic government.

(China.org.cn translated by Fan Junmei, June 12, 2008)

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