By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Nov. 30: Tashi Wangdu withdrew from the 2021 Presidential (Sikyong) elections on Sunday, citing two reasons for his decision. He said that the lack of platform to hold constructive debates among the candidates and the ongoing mudslinging in the online platform has caused him to withdraw from the race.
The former CEO of the Federation of Tibetan Co-operatives in India (FTCI) elaborated in his announcement that his appeal to the “media, the fourth pillar of democracy, to hold extensive debates couldn’t materialize due to the given circumstances”. He further argued that the online regressive commentaries on the candidates have curbed the space for any issue-based discussion in the public domain.
He drew similarities of mudslinging between the 2016 elections and the present 2021 electoral cycle that has severely impacted the level of discussion in the community. Wandgu urged the candidates to participate in meaningful discussions and effectively discourage mudslinging among their supporters during their campaigns.
The former candidate also ran in the 2016 Sikyong elections and announced his present candidacy in September. His manifesto included four core points abbreviated into SEEN i.e. Sustainability, Education, Economy, and Negotiations. His campaign primarily focussed on welfare of Tibetans in the exile community through self-sufficiency without the help of foreign aid. During his announcement, he had urged media houses to offer platforms for dialogue to strengthen the public to make an informed choice in the elections.
The Tibetan diaspora spread across the globe will cast their votes for the primaries on Jan. 3 2021 and the subsequent final elections on April 11. The exile community will determine their 5th Sikyong (earlier Kalon Tripa) and the members of parliament for the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE). As per the Election Commission, a total of 79,697; 55,683 from India and 24,014 from abroad have registered for the upcoming general elections.