By Tenzin Nyidon
DHARAMSHALA, Sept 28: The parliamentary secretariat in an official circular on Thursday announced the indefinite postponement of the sixth session of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE).
In accordance with Article 49 (ii) of the Charter of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, “if a session of the Tibetan Assembly is required to be adjourned by more than a week in the absence of minimum quorum required, the Speaker of the Tibetan Assembly may adjourn the meeting,” the announcement read. The statement further said that the MPs will be informed once the secretariat confirms the rescheduled date to continue the session.
According to Article 49 (i) of the Charter, at least two third of the MPs must be present for a parliament session to proceed. However, during the fourth day of the sixth session of the 17th TPiE, only 25 MPs were in attendance, falling short of the required quorum of two-thirds of the total number of MPs.
The sixth session of the 17th Parliament was adjourned on the fourth day of the parliamentary session earlier last week. The Speaker of the parliament Khenpo Sonam Tenphel at the time said that a group of MPs informed him that they will not participate in the parliamentary proceedings until the Department of Security resolves the allegations over MP Geshe Monlam Tharchin’s alleged meeting with a Chinese government staff.
Speaking to the media, Security Minister Gyari Dolma emphasized that the onus to convene the parliament falls on the parliamentarians and not the Department of Security as the issue in contention was not raised in the parliament by the Department of Security. She also said that her Department is unable to definitively provide a deadline for the probe as the investigation is dependent on the cooperation of the sources.
The 17th TPiE has been unable to convene since September 22, and a significant portion of the agendas tabled for the general session remains incomplete. The protracted parliamentary deadlock has led to an increased perception among the public that elected Members of Parliament (MPs) are failing to fulfil their roles effectively, contributing to division, and falling short of their responsibilities as lawmakers.
Many also bemoan the wastage of the exile government’s financial resources including travel and conveyance and accommodation among other expenses for lawmakers during the unproductive session.