Mar 21, 2008

Democracy by royal decree in Bhutan

By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times

The tiny Himalayan kingdom moves, albeit reluctantly, toward people power under monarch Jigme Singye Wangchuck, who prefers evolution rather than revolution.

On Monday, Bhutan is set to become the world's newest democracy, with the first general elections in the history of this isolated Buddhist kingdom. At the heart of this brave new world lies a paradox: It is people power by royal decree. The Bhutanese are choosing their leaders because, essentially, they were told to by their king.

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