By Tenzin Dharpo
Tibetan PM Lobsang Sangay/Indian Express/file
DHARAMSHALA, MAR. 20: The Prime Minister of the Tibetan exile government (officially known as Central Tibetan Administration) Lobsang Sangay attended the ongoing parliamentary sessions of the Tibetan parliament today following his walkout along with his cabinet (Kashag) on Saturday over exclusion of his proposal for one time election instead of the existing two phase Tibetan elections for both parliamentarians and the Tibetan PM.
On Saturday, Sangay led cabinet walked out of the proceedings after their proposal of reducing the election process down to the one time final election format instead of the preliminary and final election currently in practice, was not included in the electoral reform amendment.
Though the inclusion of Sangay’s proposal appears unlikely to bring any personal benefit to him as the Tibetan charter allows only two consecutive terms the Tibetan PM, already in his second term, was criticized by many for disrupting the proceedings of the parliament. However, the Harvard educated leader said that bringing a meaningful reform in the Tibetan electoral rules is one of his main agendas in his remaining tenure even though he cannot contest for the post in the next election.
“Over 7 months time frame of the existing election format provides a platform for parties including China that seek to create disruption within the volatile period of campaigning by candidates and supporters alike,” Sangay said while asserting that his administration is bent on avoiding the election debacle seen during the campaign for his second term as Sikyong last year.
The Tibetan PM also said that the precedent to hold a single election is practiced by many nations including India and that from his personal experience, the duration within the two elections only serve to amplify the ever growing practice of denigrating candidates even before the term even begins, casting an unwanted “public perception”.
In the run up to the 2016 Tibetan general elections, the Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama and former PM Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, among others, lamented over the conduct of the candidates during the campaign season. Internationally, the exile government’s election system also received flak over its undue leverage during the proceedings.
The Speaker of the TPiE Khenpo Sonam Tenphel appealed to the house to refrain from any attempt to “pressurize” the sessions in the parliament and abide by the fundamental democratic way by which the legislative body holds sway over drafting laws and amendments.
The second session (budgetary session) of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in exile will conclude this week on March 25.