Panel formed to amend Tibetan constitution

The committee representing both the Kashag (Tibetan Cabinet) and the Tibetan Parliament in exile was formed yesterday, and has Speaker Penpa Tsering, Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche (Prime Minister), Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari, Education Kalon (Education Minister) Thupten Lungrik and former Speaker Pema Jungney as its members.

The formation was done as per a resolution passed by the 14th Tibetan Parliament in its budget session last week. This committee shall submit its suggestions by April 11 to the Parliamentary Secretary, Deputy Speaker Gyari said.

He said a "special session" for the implementation of the amendments is likely to be called by the end of May. In the resolution, the Parliament also agreed to host a "Second Tibetan National General Meeting" in the third week of May to deliberate on the ways to accommodate a special symbolic role for the Dalai Lama in the Charter.

The MPs elect for 15th Tibetan Parliament will also be invited to this meeting. The result of the poll for new PM and MPs be out on April 27. The outcome would then be discussed and implemented during a special session of the Parliament - the dates for which are yet to be finalised, the Deputy Speaker said.

The Dalai Lama had conveyed his decision to give up his political responsibilities to the exiled Parliament on March 14 with request to make suitable amendments in Tibetan Charter to pave the way for transition of power to elected people. The Parliament then passed a resolution on March 18 requesting the Dalai Lama to reconsider his decision but he refused to buzz and returned the resolution to the Parliament.

The Dalai Lama, in his March 10 statement, said he would devolve his political authority to an elected leader. Finally on March 25, the Tibetan Parliament agreed to amend its Charter to grant his wish but proposed that he continues as the 'symbolic head' of the exiled Tibetan government.

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