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Bhutan Elects Youth Candidates in Country's First Democratic Election


Bhutan's young people are set to take the helm of the Himalayan kingdom as the country begins its transformation from a monarchy to a democracy.

Election officials Wednesday announced results of Monday's first national poll, with the majority of the 15 members elected to Bhutan's upper house under the age of 40. The candidates were required to be college graduates.

The predominantly Buddhist country has been preparing for democracy since 2005 when former king Jigme Singye Wangchuck announced his decision to hand power to the people, ending the century-long monarchy.

Wangchuck abdicated in favor of his young son, King Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck. The 27-year-old Oxford graduate will become head of state later this year.

Another round of elections for the upper house will take place January 29 in five districts where no candidates had been found earlier. The king will select another five members.

Elections for Bhutan's lower house of parliament will be held in February.

Bhutan has remained largely isolated from the modern world, limiting visitors and only allowing television in 1999.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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