AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
THIMPHU: Bhutan, whose monarchy ceded absolute power five years ago, will hold multi-party elections for its main house of Parliament on May 31, officials said on Monday. Polls took place last week in the Himalayan nation for the largely ceremonial 25-seat National Council that are seen as a warm-up for the main electoral contest for the National Assembly from which the next government will be chosen. Five parties are contesting the first round of the balloting on May 31 and the two parties which come out on top will compete in a run-off on July 31, officials said. Bhutan held its first parliamentary elections in 2008 after its beloved royal family opted to step back and peacefully transform the country into a constitutional monarchy.