By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, June 1: The Prime Minister of the exile Tibetan government Lobsang Sangay successfully pulled off the floor test in the Tibetan Parliament in exile for each of his seven nominations for the post of ministers in his cabinet.
The 16th parliament which met for its first session today approved all the seven names proposed by the Sikyong through voting by its members as required by the rules and regulations should there be any objection to the Tibetan PM's proposals. Since all seven nominees did not have unanimous backing of the house voting had to be carried out.
Among the seven new Kalons of the 15th Kashag, former Education Minister Ngodup Tsering was reinstated with 29 members voting for him. While Kashag Secretary (Kadrung) Ven. Yuthok Karma Gelek (37 votes) is the lone monk in the cabinet, veteran Tibetan politician and a surprise candidate who missed out from the U-tsang Chithue seats, Karma Yeshi (27votes) was also approved. Other candidates who were also approved include Dept. of Home Secretary Khorlatsang Sonam Topgyal (38 votes), Dept. of Security Secretary Phagpa Tsering (31 votes) and former Tibetan MP Choekyong Wangchuk (24 votes). Dhardon Sharling (25 votes) who won the highest number of votes in the parliamentary elections for Utsang will become the youngest Kalon in the history of the exile polity and the only female in the present cabinet.
Out of the total 45 Chithues (MPs), Dhardon Sharling’s abstention from voting since her name was nominated and an absent MP puts the total members in attendance at 43 including the Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel. Thus the majority of 51% to approve each Kalon candidate was mandated to be 22 out of the total 43 present in the house.
The Tibetan PM expressing delight at the approval of his cabinet thanked the house. “The composition of the new cabinet has been carefully drafted with His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s vision and the official stance of the CTA, middle way approach in mind. The new Kashag will strive to serve the Tibetan cause to its best ability and we hope the house will extend its cooperation as always,” said Sangay.
During the 13th Kashag, the then Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche did not succeed in the floor test for one of his nominations in the 14th Parliament. The Speaker had announced an hour-long break by exercising his discretionary power in a bid to give time for the deputies to assess the nominated candidates for approval in the assembly.
With 50 percent first time members in the current parliament some question the viability of the voting as members of parliament might not have any clue about a ministerial nominee.
The seven Kalons took their oath this afternoon from Kargyu Dhondup, the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission. The portfolios for the new Kalons will be announced later by the Tibetan PM. However, speculations regarding who will get which department are already doing rounds. According to political pundits of Ghangchen Kyishong, the portfolio allocation will be Yuthok Karma Gelek - Religion and Culture, Ngodup Tsering - Education, Khorlatsang Sonam Topgygal - Home, Karma Yeshi - Finance, Choekyong Wangchuk - Health and Dhardon Sharling - Information and International Relations.