Democracy comes to Bhutan

Will this help open up the country to independent hikers?

A political party seen as the more royalist of two groups seeking power swept the first parliamentary elections ever held in this secluded Himalayan kingdom, Bhutan’s election commissioner said Monday.

The Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party took 44 of the 47 seats in the new parliament, Election Commissioner Kunzang Wangdi said. …

Turnout was slightly more than 79 percent of the 320,000 registered voters, Wangdi said. Even in remote corners of the largely rural country — in tiny hamlets where voting machines were delivered by yak — the election went smoothly, officials said. …

The vote ended more than a century of absolute monarchy in the mountainous land long known as a quirky holdout from modernity, allowing television and the Internet only in 1999.

The election came with a twist: It was the king, not the people, who pressed for democracy. …

Royalist Party Wins Election in Bhutan – AP

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photo Paula Bronstein/Getty Images – About.com

One Reply to “Democracy comes to Bhutan”

  1. I am afraid that independent hiking is out in Bhutan. I have been trying to find out if the trekking fees will go up. I have no definitive answer yet, but the consensus in Bhutan is that it is likely that they will be increased at some point (so go soon!). They have been set at $200/$240 per day for 15 years now, and with the plummeting dollar, people feel it is time to increase them. Moreover, due to the very high price the people of Lunana charge for use of their yaks, there is a good chance that in the future there could be a surcharge on the snowman trek.
    The high visa price is not unreasonable – the country just doesn’t have the infrastructure to handle more tourists. Without the fees, the country would be overrun; taking away the appeal Bhutan currently has.

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