Bhutan signed a new friendship agreement with India in
February 2007, replacing the old one from 1949.
The Program Director for the United Nations Environment
Program, Achim Steiner, pointed out in July 2007 that
although Bhutan is one of the countries that emit at least
CO 2 into the atmosphere, it will be one of the
countries that feels the consequences of global warming
most, as it will will receive large amounts of water as the
Himalayan snow masses melt.
In April 2007, the king lifted the ban on political
parties. In June, the conservative royalist party, Druk
Phuensum Tshogpa (Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party) was
formed. The party won the country's first parliamentary
elections in March 2008 and won 45 of the parliament's 47
seats. Its chairman, Jigmi Yoezer Thinley, became prime
In the fall of 2008, Thinley characterized the global
financial crisis as a consequence of greed, and instead
referred to Bhutan's goal of National Prosperity, which
emphasizes both spiritual and material values.
With a 3 year delay, local elections were held in the
first half of 2011. The elections were conducted in the
period January-June. 1104 representatives were captured
among 2185 candidates. However, turnout only reached 56%.
In April 2013 elections were held for the 20-person
National Council. There were 67 candidates, but in a few of
the municipalities there was only 1 candidate on the ballot.
All candidates were independent as the legislation prohibits
parties from running for office. The king subsequently
appointed another 5 members to the council.
In May, the first round of elections for the 47-person
National Assembly was conducted. The second round was
completed in July. The election was a landslide victory for
the opposition party PDP, which gained 30 seats - a rise of
30. The former ruling party DPT had to settle for the 15th
PDP chairman, Tshering Tobgay then assumed the post of prime
minister. In particular, the background to the landslide
election was that the DPT had initiated an approximation
process to China. It was punished by India removing the
subsidies on the sale of oil to Bhutan, with the result that
energy prices tripled. Furthermore, India removed its
credits to the country, throwing Bhutan into a difficult
economic crisis. The PDP advocated strengthening relations
with India and decentralizing power. After the victory,
India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent his
congratulations to the PDP.
Bhuntan initiated a kind of land reform in 2011 at
Khinadang in Pemagatshel. The purpose of the project was to
resettle peasants from remote and hard-to-reach valleys to a
village in a more fertile part of the country and at the
same time make counseling and supplies available to them.
The project was inaugurated in 2014 and from the start was a
great success, which it was therefore decided to implement
in other parts of the country as well.
In 2014, the king pardoned 45 prisoners convicted of
possessing larger quantities of tobacco.
From a few thousand tourists annually in 1990, the number
of tourists in 2014 increased to 133,500. The country seeks
to mitigate the harms of tourism by imposing a daily tourist
tax of $ 250 on each tourist and completely banning
individual tourism. Only wealthy tourist groups have access.