Political Participation and Representation

Making a virtue of virtuality in Bhutan’s parliament

People attending to hybrid legislative drafting seminar with the Parliament of Bhutan, 3–7 August 2020

Through a capacity-development project, International IDEA facilitated virtual peer-to-peer support to help Bhutan’s parliament improve its legislative functions.

The Parliament of Bhutan requested peer-to-peer support from INTER PARES, an EU-financed project implemented by International IDEA, to strengthen its legislative drafting skills. Before the pandemic, INTER PARES had planned to support this request through two-way in-person exchanges between European Union (EU) national parliaments and Bhutan. Due to Covid-19 travel restrictions, International IDEA instead offered an online workshop that covered the key aspects of legislative drafting. The workshop involved 60 Members of Parliament and staff from the Parliament of Bhutan and experts from European national parliaments including those of the Czech Republic, Greece, Ireland, Poland and Slovakia, as well as representatives of the EU. This support enabled the Parliament of Bhutan to address its identified priorities to strengthen its legislative process to avoid situations in which there may be no consolidated version of legislation, which in the past has caused confusion among judges applying the law. 

This virtual meeting proved to be a very effective format. The parliaments of the Maldives and The Gambia have asked INTER PARES to develop similar legislative drafting courses. This approach, which was initially developed through necessity, has become a successful new means of delivering effective support.