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Bhutan cements democracy with neck-and-neck election race

Published on Jul 13, 2013 9:42 AM

THIMPHU (AFP) - The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan concludes its second-ever election on Saturday, with the race to form a government too close to call as voters give their verdict on five years of democracy.

The incumbent Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (DPT) party is up against the People's Democratic Party (PDP) to lead the "land of the thunder dragon", after two other groups were knocked out in a primary voting round in May.

Remote Bhutan's line of "dragon kings" ceded absolute power five years ago, introducing democracy to an electorate of fewer than 400,000 people.

The royalist DPT stormed the first election by a landslide in 2008 and won this year's primary round with 45 per cent of votes. But recent gains by the PDP have shaken up the contest.

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