Tibetans wait for their next Kalon Tripa

Tibetans wait for their next Kalon Tripa

The parliament-in-exile last month formally accepted the Dalai Lama's proposal and decided to hold a special session by May-end to amend its charter for the smooth transition of power from the elderly Nobel laureate to an elected political leader.

Election official Jamphel Choesang told IANS that the results concerning prime minister-in-exile and 43 members of the parliament-in-exile would be declared April 27.

Three candidates were in the field for the post of prime minister-in-exile -- Lobsang Sangey, Tenzin Namgyal Tethong and Tashi Wangdi.

Sangey is a senior fellow of Harvard Law School. Tethong also lives in the US. Wangdi has been the Dalai Lama's representative in Brussels, New York and New Delhi. Sangey emerged as the frontrunner in the primary balloting. He polled 22,489 votes.

Voters in India, Nepal, Bhutan, the US, Europe, Australia, Japan, Russia and other countries took part in the election.

"We are compiling the results as the ballots came from all 56 Tibetan regional centres where the polling took place March 20," Choesang said.

He, however, refused to divulge details of the poll conducted in Nepal and Bhutan.
The votes polled in these two countries during the Oct 3, 2010, primary poll to nominate candidates for the prime minister-in-exile, were not counted.

At that time the Nepal police seized 18 ballot boxes at polling booths in Kathmandu. Similarly, the Bhutanese government had ordered Tibetans there not to send the ballot papers to the election commission in Dharamsala.

Choesang said the newly elected members of the 15th parliament-in-exile would take oath of office May 30 as the tenure of the current parliament is going to end next month.
"The prime minister will take oath only after the tenure of the present cabinet expires in August," he said.

Tsewang Rigzin, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), said: "We all are excited about the outcome (of the elections). But we have to respect the decision of the majority and now more than ever all the Tibetans should work together to sustain, strengthen and ultimately regain Tibet independence."

Lhasang Lhamo, a shopkeeper at McLeodganj, said: "We are keeping our fingers crossed as the key responsibilities are going to be shifted on the next Kalon Tripa. The new incumbent should have to perform two roles - one team leader and another a good administrator."

Pema Dorjee, general manager of Tibetan Handicraft Cooperative Society Ltd, said: "We are quite excited and a little bit perturbed over the outcome. Since we believe in democracy, we will respect the mandate."

Incumbent Samdhong Rinpoche became the first directly elected prime minister-in-exile for a five-year term in September 2001 after the Dalai Lama called for a directly-elected political leader of the exiles.

Rinpoche could not re-contest as the Tibetan charter bars any individual from holding the office for more than two terms.

The Dalai Lama, 75, has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against Communist rule. His government-in-exile is based here but is not recognised by any country, including India.

Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, over 100,000 of them in India.

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