Birth of democracy in Shangri-La

Bhutan, one of the worlds last mystical kingdoms, goes the way of democracy with its first ever elections.

As the wintry fog rose from above the lofty mountains letting the first rays of the sun touch upon the ground, Bhutan woke up to a new morning on the last day of the year that intertwined its destiny with democracy.

Stepping into a new realm where the kingdom’s sovereignty will be vested in them, the people of the world’s last Shangri-La voted with lots of hope and excitement in their first parliamentary elections.

Since early morning, voters, dressed in their national attire, converged on election stations, crossing forests, rivers and streams. “Some of them trekked over three hours,” said assistant returning officer (Chukha) Sonam Tobgye at Phuentsholing, 175 km south of Thimpu.

Polling was held in 15 of the kingdom’s 20 districts to elect a National Council (Upper House). Each district has two candidates. The districts of Thimpu, Haa, Gasa’ Lhuentse and Trashiyangtse did not vote because they could not throw up more than one nominee. The tiny land-locked nation has a little over 300,000 voters.

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