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Happy now?

— Bhutan


The nation that had no TV until 10 years ago and is famous for using its Gross National Happiness index as a measure of success rather than GDP, has been a democracy for just over a year. Monocle talks to its prime minister about how times are changing.

Government, Religion, Society, Soft Power

In March 2008, Bhutan’s royal family eased its grip – willingly – over the ­Himalayan nation and the first democratic elections took place. The people chose Jigme Yoser Thinley to lead them as prime minister. Thinley, who won a landslide victory with his Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party, is no stranger to power. He had been PM twice before (but at a time when the position was nominated by ministers selected by the king).

The prime minister faces a big task: dragging Bhutan out of impoverishment and into the 21st century but without damaging the…


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