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Buddhist kingdom to have elections

  • Story Highlights
  • Bhutan will hold general elections on March 24
  • First time voters will head to the polls after 100 years of absolute monarchy
  • The elections will place 47 candidates to the National Assembly
  • The country will adopt a new constitution which was drawn up three years ago
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(CNN) -- Bhutan will hold general elections on March 24 -- the first time voters in the tiny southeast Asian nation will head to the polls after 100 years of absolute monarchy.

The elections, announced Thursday morning by the country's election commission, will place 47 candidates to the National Assembly, Bhutan's national news agency Kuensel reported.

The road toward the historic transition was paved in December 2006 when then-King Jigme Singye Wangchuck abdicated the throne to his son and promised to usher in democracy.

The son, Jigme Keshar Namgyal Wangchuck, will remain the head of state but the National Assembly will be able to remove him with a two-thirds majority.

The country will also adopt a new constitution which was drawn up three years ago.

Bhutan, tucked between China and India, is a Buddhist kingdom about half the size of the U.S. state of Indiana. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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