Bhutan votes in third general polls
The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan, wedged between India and China, yesterday voted in a national election guaranteed to usher in a new ruling party which must boost the economy without compromising the country's fierce independent streak.
The country of 800,000 people, famed for its Gross National Happiness index, is holding only its third democratic election since the ending of the absolute monarchy in 2008.
The capital's streets were mainly empty as authorities declared a holiday for the election. Many voters looked forward to seeing a new government tackling problems including Bhutan's large foreign debt, mainly owed to India.
"We expect a new broom to sweep well," said engineer Gopal Chettri after voting in the capital Thimphu. "It is a country with a limited budget so what can you say. Whatever party wins has to cope with it."
Results of the runoff vote -- to be announced today -- could see a government formed by a party only registered in 2013.