By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, November 12: Dr Lobsang Sangay, a senior research fellow at the Harvard Law School, held a strong lead in the preliminary round of the hotly contested Tibetan general elections held last month.
Dr Lobsang Sangay, senior research fellow in the East Asian Legal Studies Program at Harvard Law School, is leading the preliminary polls of the Tibetan prime ministerial elections by a huge margin. (Photo: Pat Westwater-Jong/file.
The results of the preliminary polls announced by the Tibetan election commission here this morning showed Dr Sangay more than 10,000 votes ahead of the next highest voted candidate in his race for the post of Tibetan Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa). He has secured 22,489 of the total votes cast by Tibetans around the world.
Out of the 79,449 registered voters, little over 47,000 (approximately 61%) voted in the preliminary polls conducted on October 3.
The Tibetan election commission, as per the electoral rules, has shortlisted a total of top six candidates
for the final round of Kalon Tripa election due to be held on March 20, 2011. Of them former PM Mr Tenzin Namgyal Tethong has secured 12,319 votes. He is followed by the incumbent deputy speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Mrs Gyari dolma with 2733 votes, Kasur Tashi Wangdi with 2101 votes, Mr Lobsang Jinpa with 1545 votes and Khorlatsang Sonam Topgyal with 605 votes.
Out of the total votes cast in the Kalon Tripa elections, Tibetan election commissioner Mr Jamphal Choesang said only 1019 votes were treated as invalid.
Estimates show that some 90,000 of the approximately 150,000 Tibetan exiles worldwide are above the age of 18 and are eligible to vote. In the last Kalon Tripa election in 2006, 72,000 (60%) were registered to vote and, an estimated 26.8% (32,205 people) actually voted.
The office of the Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration also declared the results
of the preliminary polls of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile here today.
The election commission has shortlisted a list of 50 candidates each from the three traditional provinces of Tibet and 10 candidates each from the four major religious sects, and North America and Europe constituencies for the 44-member Tibetan parliament.
The Tibetan preliminary elections this time suffered major setback setback after authorities in Nepal disrupted the process
by seizing 18 ballot boxes in two important polling zones in Kathmandu city. Mr Choesang said all efforts to regain the ballot boxes till the last minute had failed. He said the confiscated ballot boxes contained more than 1000 votes.
Out of the 11,620 registered voters from Nepal, Mr Choesang, however, said 3623 votes have been successfully counted in the preliminary polls result.
Tibetan elections in Bhutan also faced similar problem. Mr Choesang said 613 votes cast out of the 1097 registered voters in Bhutan were wasted after authorities there ordered the Tibetan election officer not to send any voting documents and ballot papers out of the country.
The final rounds of the elections to be held on March 20, 2010 will elect the third directly-elected prime minister (Kalon Tripa) of Tibet's government in exile and the members of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
The election commission also announced fresh registration dates from November 30, 2010 to January 17, 2011 for eligible voters who have missed the preliminary rounds of elections.
Mr Choesang said the voter registration should accordingly reach the office of election commission by January 24, 2011.