By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Oct. 18: National Democratic Party of Tibet today said that despite the electoral reform that bars NGOs including regional and religious groups from endorsing presidential and parliamentary candidates in future elections, the party will continue to work and lobby for a party-based democracy.
National Democratic Party of Tibet’s (NDPT) President Tsetan Norbu at a press conference held here said that while they respect the recent amendments in the electoral rules of the Tibetan government in exile (known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration), they cannot support the same as an organization that strives for party-based democracy.
The parliamentary session that concluded last month saw the omission of the word “political party” in the electoral laws, barring participation of any political parties from endorsing candidates in the Sikyong and the Chithue elections.
Tibetan legislators who voted overwhelmingly for the said amendment argued that tension seen prior to the 2016 general elections were mostly fueled by regional and sectarian elements. Norbu said that NDPT was not responsible for same, adding that the misconduct by some Sikyong candidates, their supporters and anti-social elements were the causes of the disharmony and upheaval in the Tibetan community during the campaigning and election in 2016.
Tibetan President Dr. Lobsang Sangay has on numerous occasions said that Tibetan democracy is uniquely and rightly without political parties. He said that political parties bring vested interest of ideology, manifestos and agendas that may take away from welfare of the people and core national interests.
The National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT) was founded on September 2, 1994 by Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) after His Holiness the Dalai Lama suggested TYC to initiate a political party during the VIIIth General Body Meeting of the TYC in 1990 with aims to bring party-based democracy and foster political and democratic awareness in the Tibetan community.