By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, September 10: The Tibetan Parliament during its on-going session has unanimously approved a bill to increase the number of parliament members representing North America by one.
Under the new amendment, the number of Tibetan MPs from America and Canada has been increased to two from the existing one.
The bill was approved on the second day of a 10-day session which began Tuesday.
While the bill to increase number of MPs was unanimously approved, the amendment proposed by the North American lawmaker Mr Tenzin Choeden seeking to divide the North America into two separate constituencies – one for East Coast and another combined constituency for West Coast and Canada – failed to make it.
His proposal failed to get the required two-third majority as only 24 out of the 42 lawmakers voted in favour of the reform.
The Parliament also failed to approve another proposed amendment in the Tibetan Charter to have a legislator from regions other than Europe, North America, Nepal, Bhutan and India, after legislator Tenzin Gonpo of Domed Province opposed the motion.
The bill, if approved by the session, will secure a seat for an MP representing Tibetans in Australia, New Zealand, Taiwan, Japan, South Africa, and South America.
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.