Dalai Lama turns down plea to continue as Tibetan political head

In his message in Tibetan language read out by Penpa Tsering, Speaker of the Assembly of the Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD) on the opening day of the budget session, the Dalai Lama said, "I wish to devolve authority solely for the benefit of the Tibetan people in the long run.

"It is extremely important that we ensure the continuity of our exiled Tibetan administration and our struggle until the issue of Tibet has been successfully resolved," the 75-year-old leader, who had come to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said.

The Dalai Lama had on Thursday announced his decision to retire as political head of Tibetan government-in-exile and to hand over his "formal authority" to a "freely-elected" leader. He will, however, continue to be the spiritual leader of the community.

The Nobel peace laureate said, "I want to acknowledge here that many of my fellow Tibetans, inside and outside Tibet, have earnestly requested me to continue to give political leadership at this  critical time.

"My intention to devolve political authority derives neither from a wish to shirk responsibility nor because I am disheartened and on the contrary, I wish to devolve authority solely for the benefit of the Tibetan people in the long run."

However, he assured the Tibetans that he will continue to serve them so long he was able and healthy. "As one among the six million Tibetans, bearing in mind that the Dalai Lamas have a special historic and karmic relationship with the Tibetan people, and as long as Tibetans place their trust and faith in me, I will continue to serve the cause of Tibet," he said.

He asked the ATPD to take "all necessary steps, including appointment of separate committees, to amend the relevant Articles of the Charter and other regulations, in order that a decision can be reached and implemented during this very session."

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