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Dalai Lama congratulates Mongolian President-elect

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Mongolian President elect Ukhnaa Khurelsukh at a rally in Ulaanbaatar (Photo/Reuters)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, June 11: The spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Wednesday congratulated Mongolia’s President-elect Ukhnaa Khurelsukh who secured victory in the recent elections in his country. “I have warm memories of your country, which I first visited in 1979. I have been encouraged by the interest and enthusiasm shown by Mongolians both young and old in my efforts to promote human values, as well as the need to combine traditional Buddhist knowledge with modern education,” he wrote to the Mongolian President-elect.

The former Prime Minister of the country, Ukhnaa Khurelsukh won the preliminary election results by a large margin, and has become the country’s sixth democratically elected president, further consolidating the power of the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP). In the congratulatory letter, Dalai Lama recalled the historical relationship between Tibetans and Mongolians, “Historically, the people of Mongolia and we Tibetans have been like twin brothers and sisters. The Dalai Lamas have enjoyed a unique and close relationship with your people since the time of the Third Dalai Lama, Sonam Gyatso.”

The 85-year-old Nobel Laureate also wished the new President success in fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people, “Mongolia has made impressive material progress, which is commendable. I am sure it will improve the lives of ordinary Mongolians.”

He also elaborated on the potential of Buddhism in shaping a country, “Although there are other faiths in the country . . . Buddha’s teachings emphasize such fundamental human values as compassion and non-violence, they have the potential to be of benefit, without contradicting an individual’s personal beliefs. I trust that you and your government will continue to preserve and uphold these values.”

The 52-year-old also served as the Prime Minister of Mongolia from Oct. 2017 to Jan. 2021, but the PM and his entire government resigned, following protests and public outrage over the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are about two million eligible voters in the country that overcame decades of communist rule and established its first constitution in 1992.

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