By Tenzin Dharpo
President Sangay officially signs the amendments into law at the Kashag Building on Oct. 3, 2018. Phayul photo- Kunsang Gashon
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 3: Despite suffering a set back in securing the parliament’s support for key changes in the electoral laws introduced by the Kashag (cabinet), Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay on Wednesday welcomed the amendments that were passed by Tibetan legislators earlier last week.
This morning at the Kashag Secretariat, the President signed the amendments into law, as is customary to any new amendments that secures majority in the parliament. Dr. Sangay said that the new amendments in the electoral law cements the Tibetan polity and particularly the electoral process from the negativities of party and regional or religious politics.
He said, “Tibetan democracy is partyless democracy. We believe in it and we take pride in it. Now with these amendments, we have achieved true party less democracy,” President Dr Lobsang Sangay said.
Among the amendments that many say is a positive addition to the exile government charter is the ban on non-governmental organizations and Cholka (regional) associations as well as religious associations from endorsing Sikyong (President) and candidates for the Tibetan parliament in the future. The house voted overwhelmingly on the particular amendment.
Dr. Sangay said, “In the recent election, some regional organisations have acted like de facto political parties and have nominated candidates. These actions have led to some regional issues within the community.” The Tibetan President along with his rival candidate who were part of the last election drew flak for their conduct during the campaign season. This is the incumbent President’s second term in the office.
Among the electoral amendments of the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration that won the approval from the house include declaration of at least two presidential or Sikyong candidates in the final election by the Election Commission. In the event of a lone Sikyong candidate, he/she must secure a minimum of 51% of the votes in the primary election to be declared the winning candidate, failing which the primary ballot will be recast.
The reform also states that a Sikyong candidate will be declared winner if the candidate secures more than 60% of the votes in the primary election and hence no final election will be held. Also the duration between the preliminary and the final election has been reduced from 200 days to less than a hundred.