Tibetan parliament says no to Dalai Lama's resignation

Tibetan parliament says no to Dalai Lama's resignation

The Nobel laureate March 10 announced that he wanted to shed his role as political head of the government-in-exile and hand over his responsibilities to the next prime minister.

As the second day of the Tibetan parliament began, prime minister in exile Samdhong Rinpoche said: "With a heavy heart, we have to accept His Holiness' decision of retirement as political head of the state."

He said the seven cabinet members unanimously accepted Dalai Lama's decision. However, sources in the Dalai Lama's office said the issue would be listed for discussion in parliament again Thursday. It would take a few more days to arrive at any conclusion as some of the issues might be referred to committees.

"Though the cabinet has accepted the resignation, it's clear from the debate that the house is unlikely to give a nod to his resignation. Majority of members of the house wanted him to continue as their political as well as religious head," a parliamentarian told IANS.

"Some members favoured that a referendum could be held among the two lakh exiled Tibetans on the issue. Some members averred that some middle-way approach could also be explored which mean that the Dalai Lama continues to be political leader and parliament gets more responsibilities," he said, requesting anonymity.

As many as 37 out of the 43 MPs are attending the session, which is on till March 25.
Ugen Topgyal, a member, said that majority of the members were opposed to the decision of the Dalai Lama to step down from his political role.

Sources said the vote on the issue could be held later this week. In a message read out to parliamentarians Monday, the Dalai Lama said the Tibetan movement was now mature enough for a directly-elected political leader.

"My intention to devolve political authority derives neither from a wish to shirk responsibility, nor because I am disheartened," said the message.

"On the contrary, I wish to devolve authority solely for the benefit of the Tibetan people in the long run. It's 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 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is seeking retirement from some of the activities he has been carrying out in public life in exile in the over five decades since 1959 when he arrived in India.

The retirement announcement comes at a crucial time when the election for the new Tibetan parliament is to be held March 20.

The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile is not recognised by any country, including India. Some 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in different parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.