By Phurbu Thinley
Dharamsala, March 18: Despite His Holiness the Dalai Lama's firm decision to relinquish his political role, Tibet’s parliament in exile Friday passed a resolution appealing the exiled Tibetan leader to reconsider his decision.
The Dalai Lama, who is revered by Tibetans as their supreme spiritual and political leader, had on March 10 announced his decision to give up his political role as the head of the Tibetan government-in-exile. Earlier on Monday the Tibetan leader sent a formal message to the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile formally directing its members to legalise his decision
“Now, a decision on this important matter should be delayed no longer. All the necessary amendments to the Charter and other related regulations should be made during this session so that I am completely relieved of formal authority,” the Dalai Lama had said in the message.
In the message the Dalai Lama also clarified that his decision was in accordance with his long-held vision of establishing a fully functional democratic system of governance for the Tibetan polity as the most appropriate measure in the long run.
After more than two days of extensive deliberation on the issue, the parliament today passed a three-point resolution with almost unanimous support, which, among other, calls on the Tibetan leader to continue to act as both the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people.
North America MP Mr Tenzin Chonden was the lone opponent of the motion. Airing his views in the parliament, Mr Chonden insisted parliament members to take heed of Dalai Lama’s urgent and timely message, and urged them to act progressively as per his wishes.
The lawmakers had initially debated on a four-point draft proposal prepared by the parliament. One of the points, which calls for the formation of a “Constitutional Amendment Committee” should the Dalai Lama subsequently sticks with his decision to devolve his political role was, however, dropped after it was voted out by majority in the parliament today.
In the final resolution, the parliament offered "immense gratitude" and “heartfelt devotion” to the Dalai Lama on behalf of the Tibetan people for his leadership role. The parliament said it was fully convinced that the Tibetan democratic setup under the leadership of the Dalai Lama was in full conformity with the modern norms of a healthy democracy and that there was no need of immediate change for the time being.
The parliament also extended heartfelt apologies to the 75-year old Dalai Lama for failing to work according to his wishes and pledged that the members in future would strive more to do their best for the unity of the Tibetan people and for the general cause of the Tibetan people.
Speaking to journalists at the end of today’s session, the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament Mrs Gyari Dolma said attempts have been made to incorporate the views of every member of the parliament and also of the Cabinet (Kashag) in the parliament’s draft proposal.
She also said that parliament was “duty-bound to appeal the Dalai Lama” to continue his leadership, saying that the parliament was bound by its past resolutions
that gave Dalai Lama full authority in dealing with the future course of action for resolving the issue of Tibet.
Parliament Speaker Mr Penpa Tsering said the final resolution would be submitted to the Dalai Lama for his consideration.
Mr Penpa, however, said the Dalai Lama might not accept the appeal and might redirect the parliament to act on his proposals. “If that happens the matter will come up again in the parliament,” Mr Penpa said.
Speaking at a news conference here yesterday, the Dalai Lama had reiterated that he was firm with his decision to relinquish his power despite opposition from within the Tibetan government-in-exile.
As many as 38 out of 43 members of the parliament, including the Speaker and Deputy Speaker, attended the session today to pass the resolution.