By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, Sept: The 10th session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile opened here this morning.
The general session will last for ten days, from August 7 to 17.
The September session is usually called the Monsoon Session of the Tibetan Parliament, the highest legislative organ of the exile polity, during which, among other things, the Tibetan legislators will hear the annual reports of the various departments of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.
A host of other issues, including the ones that could not be either discussed or approved during the last session held in March, are also to be discussed during the session.
One significant motion to be discussed is on the proposed amendment to the Tibetan parliamentary election, the Speaker of the parliament Mr Penpa Tsering told Phayul.
Our effort is to increase the number of lawmakers by two -- one additional representative from North America and one representing other regions other than North America, Europe, India, Nepal and Bhutan, Penpa said.
This motion has come up number of times. It was also put into motion during the last session but did not make through. I am quite confident that the house will approve it during this session, Penpa said.
In fact, Penpa said, it was desirable to even have two more representatives from North American region, where Tibetan population has increased significantly over the years.
The Tibetan Parliament is a one-house Parliament, which meets twice a year for about a fortnight each with an interval of six months.
The 14th Tibetan Parliament has 43 members, who are elected representing the three traditional provinces of Tibet (U-Tsang, Do-toe and Do-med) and five major religious sects, including the traditional Bon, of Tibet. Three members are elected by Tibetans in the West - one from North America and two from Europe.
The members are directly elected by Tibetan exiles above the age of 18 from their respective constituencies.
Tibetan exiles will go to preliminary polls next month to nominate candidates for the next general elections to be held next year, when the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile will be formed.
An estimated 150, 000 Tibetans live in exile, the majority of them in India and Nepal.
The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama set up Tibet’s Government exile in Dharamsala after he and his followers fled to India in 1959, nine years after China occupied Tibet. The Dalai Lama declared democracy for Tibetans in 1960 and promulgated a constitution for a future Tibet, based on the principles of modern democracy. On 2nd September 1960 members of the first Tibetan parliament were sworn in, marking the first concrete step toward the democratization of the Tibetan polity.
Tibetan people, both inside and outside Tibet, consider the government-in-exile to be the sole legitimate government of Tibet.
The Dalai Lama and the government in exile have in recent years been campaigning for greater autonomy for Tibet.