Worldwide Elections 2008: #3 - Bhutan

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, Mar 22, 2008.

  1. dong20

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    Bhutan was the last nation on Earth to introduce Television in 1999 and the only one which explicitly puts happiness at the heart of Government policy - all policies must take account of any impact on Gross National Happiness.

    On Monday March 24th it will hold its first ever general election.

    For the tiny kingdom, this will be the final step in a transition from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy. There is great respect for the Monarchy, and its policies and this has left some reluctant to embrace 'democracy'. Particularly regarding the fate of policies providing free and health care which were introduced by the Monarchy. There have been some concerns over the entire process, leading to tension and even threats of violence.

    A pro-democracy demonstration in 1999 expressing dissatisfaction at earlier political reforms was followed by moves to further curb the power of the King. The move toward a constitutional monarchy was confirmed in 2002, and a draft constitution emerged in 2004. This was published in 2005 and a copy was sent to over 500,000 for scrutiny. The process was given a final impetus by the abdication of King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, passing the crown to his son, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk in December 2006.

    A couple of dry runs were held last year to make sure things would go well. Only graduates are eligible to stand, the oldest candidate is 46 and the youngest in their early 20s.

    There are fears that Nepalese Maoist 'rebels' who are not eligible to vote, may try to cause disruption. There have been explosions throughout the country including on in the capital Thimpu in recent months although no one is reported killed. It has been reported that at least seventeen have been arrested and five killed by police in the run up to the elections.
     
  2. Elmer Gantry

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    This is a fascinating little place that manages to stay away from the mainstream limelight, probably to their benefit.

    They also have one of the fastest improving standards of living in SE Asia yet with a manageable 3% inflation figure. I think one of their biggest exports is electricity from their hydro electric development.

    The Maoists may have a tough time convincing the locals that their way is better when the gov uses "Gross National Happiness" as a yardstick for policy!
     
  3. dong20

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    I can think of at least one nation that could learn from such a policy.
     
  4. D_Cyprius Slapwilly

    D_Cyprius Slapwilly New Member

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    Kucinich proposed creating a Department of Peace. :biggrin1:
     
  5. dong20

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    The proposed legislation currently has 69 co-sponsors. Californians and New Yorkers seems to be especially peace friendly. I wonder why?:biggrin1:
     
  6. dong20

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    Well the results are in. Unsurprisingly a Royalist has been elected. Long live Gross National Happiness. There was some ugliness, unfortunately.

    "Kinley's party, like the opposition, hews closely to the king's vision. Both vow to follow the latest five-year plan—they call it 'His Majesty's vision'—and promote Gross National Happiness, an all-encompassing political philosophy that seeks to balance material progress with spiritual well-being."

    The Associated Press: Royalists Win Election in Bhutan
     
  7. Industrialsize

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    Did you know it is illegal to smoke in the entire country of Bhutan?.....It is a special place........it is true to its own culture.......they allow only a restricted amount of tourists to visit each year......there are limited flights into Bhutan....it is served by one airline, PHaro Air that is owned by the monarchy...
     
  8. dong20

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    I didn't know that about the smoking.

    It's been on my visit list for years. I've been close on all sides but never actually made it. I will though, soon enough.:biggrin1:
     
  9. kalipygian

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    I understand that it is also illegal to proselytize.

    I would like to visit as well.
     
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