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Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 21:34 GMT 22:34 UK

World: South Asia

Bhutan King offers to relinquish powers

The national assembly in Bhutan has been debating proposals submitted by King Jigme Singye Wanchuk which would turn Bhutan into a constitutional monarchy.

The King has suggested that parliament should have the power to force his abdication and that the cabinet should take over the day-to-day running of the country.

A proposal that parliament should choose most members of the cabinet has already been adopted.

A BBC South Asia analyst says King Jigme appears anxious to relinquish absolute power before Bhutan's pro-democracy campaign gathers momentum.

But he says it's not clear if his proposals will be accepted, as many members of parliament are ardent royalists.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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