By Tenzin Tsering
Dharamsala, August 5 – Ms. Gyari Dolma, Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, has announced her candidature in the upcoming 2011 Kalon Tripa election yesterday.
The first woman deputy speaker of the Tibetan parliament in exile said that issues concerning Tibetan women being afforded equal opportunities in politics and the growing awareness of the upcoming election necessitated her calling the press conference. The press conference was called on her personal capacity, she added.
Gyari’s announcement is welcomed by Tibetan women in exile as it marks the first ever participation of a Tibetan woman in the election for the seat of highest executive office in the Tibetan government in exile. “I welcome her decision as a phenomenal breakthrough in the political empowerment of Tibetan women in the exiled Tibetan polity. Therefore not withstanding the results, her conviction and assertion will definitely encourage the enfranchisement of the Tibetan electorate,” said Dhardon Sharling, a Tibetan woman activist.
The Tibetan exile polity has so far seen four Tibetan women ministers in the Kashag (Tibetan cabinet) but no woman has ever become the Kalon Tripa or the Prime Minister.
Jetsun Pema, the younger sister of the Dalai Lama, was the first woman to hold a Kalon’s office as the Minister for Health in 1990. She remained in the cabinet till 1993 as the Minister of Education. Ms. Rinchen Khando became a Kalon in 1993 and remained in the Kashag till 2001. Ms.Samkar Yankyi Dashi was a Kalon from 1996-2001.
Currently, Ms. Kesang Y. Takla, Minister of Information and International Relations, is the only woman in the incumbent Kashag.
Ms. Gyari Dolma, a member of parliament for the past 19 years said “Given a chance, I am willing and enthusiastic to shoulder the responsibility of Kalon Tripa.”
She also announced that she will not contest in the upcoming Tibetan parliamentary elections on completion of her present term.
“If I get through in the preliminary round on October 3, I will surely campaign more after that,” said Ms. Dolma.