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Bhutan King to Abdicate, Hold Elections By 2008

The king of the remote Himalayan country of Bhutan says he will abdicate his throne and hold democratic elections by 2008.

State media Sunday quote King Jigme Singye Wangchuck as saying he will start handing responsibility to his son, the crown prince. The king also said the first national election for a parliamentary-style government will take place in 2008.

The king has been touring Bhutan to discuss a draft constitution that would end almost 100 years of monarchical rule in the largely Buddhist nation.