By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, AUG 5: The apex election body of the exile Tibetan government known officially as the Central Tibetan Administration announced Wednesday that the practice of NGO’s and organisations nominating and endorsing candidates is disallowed, marking the first time since the key amendment in electoral rules is applied during an election.
“No association of the three traditional provinces, religious denominations, non-governmental organizations can nominate or promote any candidates for Sikyong and Parliamentary elections. Candidates cannot channelize their campaign through them,” stated the guidelines of the Election Commission.
The announcement by the EC marks the official commencement of the 2021 Tibetan general elections where the Sikyong (Presidential) and the Chithue (Parliamentary) seats of the Central Tibetan Administration are in contention.
Wangdu Tsering Pesur, Chief Election Commissioner, said his office is “committed to conducting the 2021 elections as per the stipulated time period” despite COVID-19 related challenges. He urged the Tibetan public to “promote an effective electoral process while firmly upholding the Tibetan unity and integrity.” The press release appealed to the Tibetan public to be cognizant of the electoral rules and regulations which had major amendments especially in Article 24 & 25 regarding electoral candidates.
Among the other key guidelines highlighted by the EC for the candidates for 2021 general elections include, “candidates cannot make use photos of the Dalai Lama, CTA logo, Tibetan national flag and the map of Tibet in their campaigns; they must not indulge in character assassination and “mud-slinging based on creed, religious faith and regionalism”; they must not misuse physical and monetary power to influence the ballot; no person is allowed to cause any obstruction in an ongoing meeting of a candidate; campaigning practices are not allowed in schools; and candidates must cease their campaign two days prior to the election day”.
Commissioner Pesur also urged the public to exercise responsible use of the digital platforms and prevent the spread of misinformation in the upcoming election process. The EC also launched an official website aimed to promote electoral literacy and provide accessible information in the Tibetan community.
The guidelines also issued strict warning to offenders of electoral rules with “punishment based on the severity of violations”.
(Choekyi Lhamo also contributed to the report)