December 19, 2005

Democracy on the move... Bhutan

Wonderful news from the Hindustan Times:

Bhutan shocked over King's abdication move
Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon, is reeling under shock and disbelief.

The Himalayan kingdom is stunned by King Jigme Singye Wangchuk's announcement about ending 100 years of royal rule in 2008 by abdicating the throne and holding the country's first national elections.

“The entire nation was bewildered when the king made this surprise announcement of stepping down in favour of the crown prince and holding democratic elections,” Kinley Dorji, editor of Bhutan's national newspaper Kuensel, told the agency.

“The people of Bhutan did not really expect this historic and dramatic decision to come so early.”

A bit more:

The transition began four years ago when the king handed over powers of daily governance to a council of ministers and empowered the National Assembly to force a royal abdication if the motion was backed by three-quarters of its membership.

Bhutan earlier this year unveiled a 34-point constitution, which is now being sent to some 530,000 citizens for their views and was expected to be ratified after a referendum.

Once adopted, the constitution will swap a royal decree of 1953 giving the monarchy absolute power and alter Bhutan into a parliamentary democracy.

Very cool — here is the page for Bhutan from the CIA World Factbook

Posted by DaveH at December 19, 2005 01:19 PM | TrackBack
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