Editorials: Bhutan at the polls: Happy and you know it? | The Economist

Arrows thud into a wooden target, and the men with bows sing in celebration. One of those watching the archery tournament is Gyeltshen, an 89-year-old who remembers Thimphu, Bhutan’s sprawling capital, as a “few houses and a forest”. Entering it without wearing your gho, a knee-length Bhutanese robe, meant risking arrest and a fine. Much is changing. He approves of how the king “granted us democracy” in 2008, when the Himalayan country had its first election. On July 13th Mr Gyeltshen will vote in the second. Like many in Thimphu, he says the ruling Druk Phuensum Tshogpa (Peace and Prosperity Party) kept its promises to build roads and airports and to provide hydro power. Almost everyone has a mobile phone, and most of the country has electricity. The party expects to win.