by Esther Emery
Which dragon do you vote for?
In this year 2008, the tiny Himalayan country of Bhutan has enacted universal suffrage–granting the vote to all adult men and women. In previous years, the law allowed only one vote per household, which was almost always cast by a man.
This particular woman is voting for a dragon.
The International Museum of Women explains:
Fearful that Bhutan’s citizens would not understand how to participate in the new democracy, the king instituted a mock election so that people could practice voting. In late April of 2007, four fictional political parties, named for colorful Druks, or thunder dragons, the country’s national symbol, were put forth: Druk Blue, Druk Green, Druk Red and Druk Yellow. Unsurprisingly, Druk Yellow, which stood on a platform of traditional values, won by an overwhelming majority. For the first time in their country’s history, numerous women lined up to vote and served as election monitors.
Here’s a picture of the real election, which took place in March of this year. Women candidates took three of twenty seats in the National Council, and four of forty-seven seats in the National Assembly.