THIMPHU, Bhutan (Agence France-Presse) — Bhutan stands poised to become the world’s newest democracy on Monday with elections ordered by its revered royal family to end its absolute rule.The tiny Buddhist state, wedged in the Himalayas between India and China, will elect members for a lower house, ending the century-long rule of the hugely popular Wangchuck dynasty.Bhutan’s Oxford-educated ruler, King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, 28, made a forceful last-minute appeal over the weekend to his subjects — some of whom were initially reluctant to bring in democracy — to vote.
“As you approach the duty of voting at the elections that will bring democracy, do so with pride and confidence of a people that have achieved so much,” he said in a statement published in the nation’s newspapers. “First and foremost, you must vote. Every single person must exercise his or her franchise.”
The king is the fifth ruler in the dynasty, in power since 1907. The path to democracy began in 2001, when the former king, Jigme Singye Wangchuck, handed over the day-to-day tasks of government to a council of ministers, and finally stepped down in favor of his son in late 2006.
Since then, father and son have traveled the country to explain to its 670,000 people why the nation should embrace democracy.
Recently elected Serbian President, Boris Tadić, has responded to yesterday evening’s violence in Belgrade, which involved the torching of the US Embassy by an unruly mob numbering hundreds. The mob was but a tiny minority of the crowd of hundreds of thousands, which had gathered earlier in the day to peacefully protest Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Monday of this week. Tadić, a the leader of the moderate Democratic Party in Serbia, had this to say about the events:
Tadić, who was in Romania Thursday, today said he has “asked all relevant institutions for reports on yesterday’s unrest in Belgrade”.
For the same reason, he was called a session of the Council for National Security…
…Tadić is also strongly condemning the violence, looting and burning, that ended in one death and nearly 200 injured, as well as huge material damage to the city.
“There is no justification for violence, no one must dare to justify it with a single word,” his press service said in a statement…
…Tadić went on to say that “this is not Serbia and Serbia will never be like this”.
“The state must have law and order and such violence must never happen again, anywhere,” Tadić said.