The prime minister conceded defeat on Sunday, September 16, after his ruling party was knocked out in the first round of legislative elections, held the day prior. This was the third election ever held in Bhutan. The two leading parties will face off in a second round on October 18.
During the last elections in 2013, neighboring India abruptly withdrew subsidies for kerosene and cooking gas imports. The move was interpreted as a possible attempt to force a change of government. India and China compete for influence in Bhutan. In 2017, a military stand-off took place over the Doklam plateau in the Himalayas, claimed by both China and Bhutan.
On a separate note, foreign visitors to Bhutan should note that they need a passport and visa to enter and exit. Visas are delivered upon arrival but need to be applied for and approved prior to travel via a tour operator. Finally, foreign nationals (with the exception of citizens of India, Bangladesh, and the Maldives) are only authorized to enter or depart Bhutan through certain towns: Phuntsoling, Samdrup Jongkhar, and Gelephug (by road) or Paro (by air).
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