Adopted in 2008, Bhutan’s Constitution defines its form of Government as a Democratic Constitutional Monarchy. Article 22 of the Constitution is fully devoted to Local Governments. It states that “power and authority shall be decentralized and devolved to elected Local Governments”, providing the basis for three types of local governance institutions: Dzongkhags (Districts), Gewogs (Village Blocks) and Thromdes (Municipalities). Local elections were first conducted in 2011 to elect political representatives in accordance with the Election Act 2009. Candidates do not belong to any political party. Local councils are supported by civil servants recruited and managed by the Royal Civil Service Commission and rely almost exclusively on annual grants provided by the central government to finance their activities.

Subnational governance structure

Nature of subnational governance institutions

Functional assignments

LoGICA Assessments

LoGICA Intergovernmental Profile: Bhutan 2023 (Excel)

Additional resources

Local government country profile: Bhutan (UN Women)

Bhutan Country Profile (World Observatory on Subnational Governance and Investment, OECD/UCLG)

Bhutan Urban Policy Notes: Municipal Governance and Finance (World Bank, 2019)

Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability (PEFA) Performance Assessment Report: Bhutan, 2023

Back to Local Public Sector Alliance Intergovernmental Profiles – Country Page

Last updated: April 26, 2024