By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 3: Tibetan Member of Parliament for Europe and South America Ven. Thubten Wangchen has been replaced following his failure to attend two consecutive parliamentary sessions. The Tibetan MP has however cited the Indian government’s ban on entry of any passengers from European countries as the cause of his failure to attend the recent budget session of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
Former MP Thubten Wangchen in a pre-recorded video posted on his Facebook account today said that he could not attend the latest session despite exploring every option available to him. Wangchen said that he was supposed to fly the day when the Indian government implemented a ban on entry of passengers form Italy, Spain and Germany where the COVID-19 virus had hit hard.
The MP said that he could not attend the previous parliamentary session as well as he was touring 30 nations in Europe to highlight the Tibetan cause.
The Speaker of the TPiE Pema Jungney said that while he rule-bound in enacting the withdrawal of the MP. “We had to curb the latest parliamentary session to just a day because of the Coronavirus pandemic. This has also barred MP Thubten Wangchen from attending the session. Despite our best efforts with the Foreign ministry to permit his entry into the country, it didn’t happen. So it was that he could not attend rather than him not attending,” the Speaker said.
As per the Tibetan Charter, any legislator who fails to attend two consecutive parliamentary sessions is automatically removed from the position and another appointed in his/her stead. The candidate in waiting, Wangpo Tethong has been notified by the Chief Election Commissioner Wangdue Tsering to takeover.
MP Thubten Wangchen was elected into both the 15th and the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile. His tenure of 10 years split between two terms has been cut short by a year. The founder of the ‘Tibet House Foundation’ in Barcelona, Spain expressed gratitude for the opportunity he had to serve the Tibetan people and urged his constituents to support the new MP Wangpo Tethong.
The two standing MPs from Europe and South America of the Tibetan parliament in Exile are Jampa Tsering Samdho and Wangpo Tethong.