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The First Universal Suffrage Election, at County (Gewog) Level, in Bhutan


  • Ura, Karma


Following a Royal Edict to adopt universal suffrage in election for local government institutions, maiden elections were held in 199 gewogs (counties) in Bhutan in 2002 to elect their chief executives. This paper gives an account of this first time event in a country where most villagers had never seen secret ballots and poll booths. It synthesizes detailed data, mostly qualitative, collected soon after the election was over, and assesses aspects of electoral participation that His Majesty the King of Bhutan has introduced steadily to deepen democracy. Beginning with a glance at the territorial organization of the Bhutanese state within which the counties are embedded, the paper compares the electoral results with the relevant election rules.

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  • Ura, Karma, 2004. "The First Universal Suffrage Election, at County (Gewog) Level, in Bhutan," IDE Discussion Papers 4, Institute of Developing Economies, Japan External Trade Organization(JETRO).
  • Handle: RePEc:jet:dpaper:dpaper4

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    Voter turnout; Candidate criterion and attributes; Nominations; Elections; Local government; Politics; Democracy; Bhutan; 選挙; 地方自治; 政治; 民主主義; ブータン;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • O14 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Industrialization; Manufacturing and Service Industries; Choice of Technology
    • O30 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - General

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