By Tenzin Monlam
Phayul Photo: Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, December 4: The Election Commission on Friday officially announced the result of the preliminary polls of the Tibetan PM and 16th Tibetan Parliament in exile with the incumbent Prime Minister (Sikyong) Lobsang Sangay winning the prelims with a huge margin.
Sikyong got 30,508 votes followed by Speaker Penpa Tsering with 10,732, Lukar Jam (2557), Tashi Wangdu (1880), Tashi Topgyal (38) and finally rounding up the top six, former PM (Trisur) Samdhong Rinpoche with 18 votes.
Sikyong’s vote count has seen an improvement from his previous prelim polls in 2010 where he secured total of 22,489 votes.
It will be a two-horse race with the two firm favorites - Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Speaker Penpa Tsering – in the finals on March 20, 2016 with Lukar Jam ruled out of the race as he failed to acquire the mandated vote count set by the EC.
The EC on October 20 declared that they decided to shortlist two finalists with condition of a third finalist if the margin with the second is less than 20 percent.
The Election Commissioner Sonam Chomphel Sosur announced that the EC has registered 88,326 voters of which 47,105 voters cast votes for the PM poll, which is 53.33 percent voter turnout. Whereas, 46,890 votes were cast in for the Member of Parliament poll, which figures to 53 percent voter turnout.
He also declared that there were total of 499 invalid votes in the PM poll and 2383 for the parliamentary poll. However, EC assured that there would be less chance of invalid votes in the finals since voters only have to mark their candidates from list provided.
The electoral body of CTA announced that the prelims were conducted in 85 polling venues worldwide, 46 in India Nepal and Bhutan combined, nine in foreign Tibetan embassies other than India Nepal and Bhutan and thirty in schools and winter sweater business regions.
“Tibetans in Bhutan were not able to vote for the prelims since the government of Bhutan asked the local Tibetan authority to submit all the details of the voters and their history. Tibetans in Bhutan were reluctant to come forward to vote because of the condition and some other reasons as well,” Sonam said explaining the absence of voting in Bhutan.
For the 16th Tibetan Parliament, the EC has shortlisted 40 candidates from each of the three provinces, eight from five major Buddhist sects, Americas, Europe and four from Australasia constituencies for the 45-member Tibetan parliament.
Sharling Tenzin Dhardon is leading the U-Tsang province’s vote count with 10,704 followed by Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok (6,720). In Do-Toe province, Kunchok Choedon with 4,495 leads the count and Serta Tsultrim with 4,228 in second. Thupten Lungrik with 1,495 leads the Do-mey province, closely followed by Dr. Khenrab Gyatso with 1,308.
Tashi Namgyal leads the Americas constituency with 1,242 votes, Thupten Wangchen from Europe with 2,124 votes and Dhongdue Kyizom with 167 votes leads from the newest constituency, Australasia.