Wednesday, July 1, 1998 Published at 17:22 GMT 18:22 UK
World: South Asia
King's power curbed
The King is relinquishing some of his powers
Bhutan's National Assembly has voted to make royal appointees to the cabinet face an election in the Assembly for the first time.
It follows another big change in political life in Bhutan last week when the King dissolved his cabinet and dropped several ministers who had served for more than 20 years.
After the vote on Wednesday he put forward six more cabinet nominees - relatively young civil servants - who the assembly approved by a large margin.
But his critics believe the cabinet reshuffle is a political gimmick intended to give the world a false impression that Bhutan is indeed heading for democracy.
Correspondents say the pro-democracy movement is split. One party - the United Front for Democracy in Bhutan - wants to intensify the campaign for greater democracy.
The political reforms are not the only change to have hit this isolated kingdom of 600,000 people in the last month. The King, a football fan, made an exception to the normal ban on television by putting up giant screens around the capital to broadcast the World Cup.
The government is now reportedly examining whether to set up its own television service.