'Cabinet' accepts Dalai proposal to quit

Last Updated 15 March 2011, 17:10 IST

 The Cabinet of the Tibetan government-in-exile on Tuesday accorded its consent to the decision of the Dalai Lama to quit as the political mentor even as parliament, which sat for close to nine hours on Tuesday mulling the issue, failed to arrive at a consensus.

At the end of the second day of the parliament session, the government is now left with a situation where the cabinet and parliamentarians are divided on the issue. It has now been decided by the House to put off the debate till the end of the session.

Prime Minister of the government-in-exile Prof Samdong Rinpoche, who supported the Dalai Lama’s decision to quit, said a majority of the 35 members of the Tibetan parliamentarians present expressed the view that the Dalai Lama’s proposal be rejected since the people of Tibet were not prepared for the change at this moment. He said in all probabilities, the collective sense of the House will be to ask the Dalai Lama to reconsider his decision to quit. 

Besides the eight ministers, including the PM, in the Cabinet, three MPs supported the Dalai Lama’s proposal.

At least six MPs in the Parliament expressed the need for adopting a middle path as a solution wherein certain amendments are made in the act by Parliament to relinquish the Dalai Lama of his administrative responsibilities to enable him to continue as the political head. The remaining 26 MPs wanted the proposal to be dumped, an MP said.

He added that the MPs who favoured rejecting the proposal were of the opinion that the Tibetan struggle movement will suffer a serious setback in the absence of the Dalai Lama.

They also felt that the face of the Tibetan struggle will be gone if the proposal is accepted. “Whatever Tibet’s equation is with the international community is because of the stature of the Dalai Lama. The direction is unclear without him. The change of power should not be that abrupt. The circumstances in Tibet are not conducive to allow this transition,” Aacharya Yashi, an MP told Deccan Herald.

Karma Yesni, another MP, said the House presented divergent views on the issue, even as a majority of the MPs rejected the proposal. The prime minister said the Cabinet’s approval of the proposal should not be misconstrued.

“The cabinet is for His Holiness Dalai Lama. It has to concur his views,” he said. The inucmbent PM’s term comes to on end on March 20 when Tibetans will elect their new PM.
“It’s still an open-ended debate. So far, there’s no headway. We cannot say what the situation will be at the end of the session,” the PM told Deccan Herald. 

Tenzin Tsundu, a Tibetan activist who was present inside the parliament said many of the MP’s were unsure of the widespread ramifications of the decision. “It’s a tradition of hundreds of years that is proposed to be changed. Its not that easy,” he said.

On March 10, the Dalai Lama had announced his decision to quit as political head because he no longer wanted the Tibetan exiled administration to dependent on the Dalai Lama. He had called for a self-reliant movement.

The Dalai Lama also said no system of governance can ensure stability and progress if it depends solely on one person as one man rule is both anachronistic and undesirable. He wants the Tibetan parliamentarians to prepare for the future after him.

What now?

Despite the uncertainty, experts do not see a conflict emerging out of this situation. Now that the Tibetan Cabinet and Parliament have not seen eye to eye on the issue, the Prime Minister said the decision of the MP’s will be treated as final.

“There is no ambiguity on this. The Cabinet may have approved the decision, but the ultimate power lies with the parliamentarians as they have to decide and suggest amendments depending upon the final verdict.”

(Published 15 March 2011, 17:10 IST)

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