By Tenzin Dharpo
Speaker Pema Jungney. photo- tibetanparliament.org
DHARAMSHALA, Dec. 1: The longest serving Tibetan legislator Pema Jungney was sworn in as the new Speaker of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) here at the T-building of the Central Tibetan Administration today, marking exactly two and a half years since the Kashag took office.
Jungney succeeds Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, both of whom did not receive majority for the five-year term back in May 2016. The house which cast three rounds of ballots at the time could not break the deadlock and decided unanimously decided to split the five-year tenure between the two candidates with Khenpo Sonam Tenphel holding the post for the first two and a half years beginning at May 31, 2016 to November 30, 2018, and Pema Jungney becoming the Speaker for the remainder of the term till May 29, 2021.
Outgoing Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel (L) and new speaker Pema Jungney, Speakers for the 16th Tibetan Parliament, Phayul Photo- Kunsang Gashon
It is the second time that the Speaker’s post had to be shared between two members of parliament who got equal number of votes in the election. In 2006, the members of the 14th Tibetan parliament also saw divide the chairman's term between two contenders Late Karma Choephel and Penpa Tsering. The election commissioner then, Tashi Phuntsok, discussed with the house decided that the five year term be shared by the two.
The oath ceremony today was overseen by Kargyu Dhondup, the Chief Justice Commissioner and attended by most of the CTA top brass including President of Central Tibetan Administration Dr Lobsang Sangay, Chief Justice Commissioner, Deputy Speaker of Tibetan parliament-in-Exile, Justice Commissioners, Kalons, heads of the Autonomous bodies and members, Secretaries of CTA functionaries.
Pema Jungney is a veteran lawmaker who was elected into the house for seven terms and at one time also served as the Speaker or Chairman as it was known previously. In his incumbency as a legislator spanning 28 years, Jungney has served as the chair of 30 parliamentary committees and was a member of the Charter Drafting Committee. The former teacher has authored two volumes of a book titled ‘Details on Evolution of Tibetan Democratic Polity’.