Bhutan King appoints election commissioner for 2008 polls | world | Hindustan Times
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Bhutan King appoints election commissioner for 2008 polls

Jigme Wangchuck also announced the appointments of two other key constitutional posts in the country's first formal steps towards democracy.

world Updated: Jan 05, 2006 15:48 IST

The king of Bhutan has appointed an election commissioner as part of the Himalayan country's moves towards parliamentary democracy in 2008, state media reported.

King Jigme Singye Wangchuck also announced the appointments of two other key constitutional posts in the first formal steps towards the transformation.

The appointments were a "significant step forward in the process towards a democratic constitutional monarchy", Bhutan's national newspaper, the Kuensel, said in a report posted on its website on Wednesday.

Dasho Kunzang Wangdi was named election commissioner while Neten Zangmo was appointed as head of the anti-corruption commission and Ugyen Chhewang becomes the auditor general.

"All three are interim appointments made in preparation for the general elections in 2008," the Kuensel said.

The 50-year-old king announced last month that he was abdicating the throne in favour of his eldest son, Crown Prince Jigme Khesar Namgyal Wangchuck, 25, ahead of prime ministerial elections in 2008.

"The chief election commissioner would have to finalise the constituencies for the election as well as the electoral rolls and election schedules for the general elections in 2008," the Kuensel said.

The king also spelt out the responsibilities of the anti-corruption commission in "rooting out corruption through timely and effective checking on the use of public funds and resources," the report said.

"The auditor general's office would help in promoting effective and efficient government auditing to enhance professionalism," it added.

Bhutan's transition towards democracy began four years ago when the king handed over the powers of daily governance to a council of ministers.

Last year, Bhutan unveiled a 34-point constitution, which is expected to be ratified in a referendum for which the date has yet to be set.

Once adopted, the constitution will replace a royal decree of 1953 giving the monarch absolute power in the Buddhist nation of around 600,000 people.

The current king is the fourth ruler in the Wangchuck dynasty that came to power in December 1907.