Bhutan Experiments With Democracy

The secluded kingdom of Bhutan has introduced new tensions for its people by holding the first ever election in which political parties can run candidates. Butan has long been a holdout from the modeern world and was run by a Bhuddist king who finally broke down in 1999 and allowed Internet and televisioin to become part of the national culture. According to Yeshi Zimba, one of the candidates for office, “No one wants this election. His Majesty has guided us thus far, and people are asking why change now?”

However, his Majesty insists Bhutan must enter the 21st century and conduct an election to keep in step with its only recent cash economy, the thousands of tourists who enter the country with money, technological devices, and ideas. It is still a land where law dictates the average Bhutanese person must wear traditional dress when out in public. As Kinzang Tshering noted after listening to competing candidates: “they tell us they are better than the other ones. How should I know which one is better? I think his Majesty is better.”

Perhaps, we have finally discovered the land George Bush would love governing, provided he could occupy the role of His Majesty. Of course, among those who work for him, the Decider does regard himself as His Majesty when it comes to making decisions about war or peace.