Press Release – Bhutan Democracy Forum

Posted by Zulkee Choden Rinzin, March 8th, 2021

BCMD/PRESS-04/2021/021                                                                                                                                           Date: 05/03/2021

Press Release
Bhutan Democracy Forum 2021
Being Apolitical in Democratic Bhutan

When: Wednesday, 10 March 2021 Where: Dusit, Thimphu Time: 9:30 AM – 1:00 PM

Thimphu, 5 March 2021: Venturing on an uncharted path of Gross National Happiness as its development philosophy,  Bhutan stands out from the rest of the world. Democracy isn’t about political parties or elections alone; it is an everyday exercise and it is only as strong as the participation of its citizens. The role of academia is critical to deepening and expanding the narratives and discourses on Bhutan’s democracy but having to remain ‘apolitical’ is often a barrier. Narrowly interpreted as not expressing any views on issues perceived as political, the call to be ‘apolitical’ in institutions of learning as well as society, in general, has created much discomfort. The impact of maintaining an ‘apolitical’ environment could potentially engender apathy in the electorate, disillusionment in politicians, and disenfranchisement amongst the young and the vulnerable.

The forum, in collaboration with the Royal University of Bhutan and Bhutan Democracy Dialogue, will deliberate on several interconnected questions around “apoliticalness,” how it manifests in everyday practices and its impact on democratic spaces in Bhutan. To strengthen democracy, it is imperative to deliberate on such questions and concepts of democracy to seek clarity, dispel misconceptions, and to strengthen the system of democratic governance. The panel of distinguished speakers from diverse and relevant agencies will be moderated by Dasho Kinley Dorji.


  1. Dasho Lungten Dubgyur, Attorney General, OAG
  2. Dasho Karma Tshiteem, Former Chairman, RCSC
  3. Tashi Dema, Assignment Editor, Kuensel
  4. Sangay Khandu, Co-founder and Associate, Center for Local Governance and Research
  5. Tan Lian Choo, Senior Consultant and Trainer with Potential Project

The Bhutan Democracy forum will bring together citizens from diverse professional backgrounds into a conversation to deepen the understanding of the concept, its rationale and interpretation of the term to contribute to strengthening Bhutan’s young democracy.