Though it has been a democracy in name for five years, Bhutan remains close to British author James Hilton’s description of “Shangri-La”. The word “change” still does not capture the hearts of the people of this Buddhist nation, as was seen in the elections two weeks ago.
Voters wait to cast ballots in Thimpu. Only about 55% of the country's 380,000 registered voters took part in the first round of polling.
One might wonder why Bhutanese men and women braved rains and landslides to cast their votes on May 31 in the first round of a two-stage election. About 55% of the roughly 380,000 registered voters stood in queues under their umbrellas on slushy, sloping roads — some had walked for days to reach their polling stations — to determine the two largest parties that would compete in the main election on July 13. Perhaps they knew there is no such thing as a free lunch, even if they wanted the status quo.
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