Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Starting the Year With Positive News

In a minor attempt to cast out the 'demons' of '07, I want to post something positive to start the year: The nation of Bhutan is moving to democracy without violence or outside intervention:

DEOTHANG, Bhutan (Reuters) - Bhutanese voted on Monday to elect members to a new upper house of parliament for the first time, a step towards democracy after a century of absolute monarchy.

The tiny, conservative Himalayan kingdom has been preparing for democracy since former monarch Jigme Singye Wangchuck decided to hand power to an elected government, even as many of his citizens said they were quite happy with the way things were.


I realize that this is not going to have any major global impact, but it is unusual. I'm wracking my memory of history to think of another example of a monarch voluntarily stepping down to allow an elected government to assume power. I can't think of one, but if any historians can show me one, please do.


Fran said...

Happy New year Py and thanks for starting out on a good note!

Mauigirl said...

Great news, it's nice to hear a positive development in the world.

The only somewhat similar thing I think of was when Franco, on his deathbed, turned his dictatorial government back to the royal family and Spain became a constitutional monarchy again. But it's not quite the same I guess!

Demeur said...

How about Markos in the Philipines when Cory Aquino came in to try and set the country straight. My memory is a bit fuzzy on that but everybody remembers the shoes of Emelda (sic).