By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 6 October 2015
Incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay announced his decision to run for re-election to the post of Sikyong in the upcoming exile Tibetan elections, to take place later this month and in March next year.
Sangay gave his pitch for re-election during a press conference on Tuesday. He said he is running on a platform of “Four S: Survive, Sustain, Strengthen, and Succeed”, for the development of the exile Tibetan community, and “Tibet: 5/50” formula to resolve the issue of Tibet.
By “Tibet: 5/50” he meant that every effort will be made to resolve the issue of Tibet in five years, and if it fails, prepare for a sustained free Tibet movement in the next 50 years.
Sangay, who won by a big margin in the last elections in March 2011, beating his nearest rival Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, is serving the fifth year of his first five-year term.
To a question of his biggest achievement during his first term, he said that he had worked hard and was willing to continue to work hard.
“My biggest achievement is the stability of the exile Tibetan community,” Sangay says, citing examples of how many people would come to him to express their feeling of satisfaction at how he has kept cohesion and unity among the exile Tibetans.
He said that after the Dalai Lama relinquished his political powers in 2011, Tibetans were concerned about a loss of feeling of secuirty within the exile Tibetan community in the absence of a central figure like the Dalai Lama at the helm of the Tibetan administration.
Clarification of issues
Sangay clarified a number of issues against him that have been circulating within the society and on the Internet.
“I have experienced how and what happens during the election time,” he said. “There will be all kinds of baseless criticisms. They may be using their freedom of speech, but that doesn’t matter if there’s no proof to their accusations.”
One criticism is that there has seemed to be a lack of dialogue with Chinese leaders during his term as Sikyong, despite his promise to work for the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet.
To this he said that there may be no envoys, but he has made continued efforts to reach out to the Chinese leaders behind the scenes. “It’s up to the Chinese leaders how they respond to our proposals.”
“My administration has been firmly committed to the Middle-way policy to resolve the Tibetan issue, and we are ready to have dialogue with China any time and any where.”
Another concern is that he could be using the Kalachakra empowerment by the Dalai Lama scheduled in January as a platform for his campaigns right before the final elections in March.
This event has now been postponed by a year — due to the Dalai Lama’s hectic schedule, according to Sangay.
Running against Sangay so far are four others who have all announced their bids for the top post of the exile Tibetan administration. More could also be nominated.
The four who have thrown in their names are: Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, Penpa Tsering; the Chairman of Federation of Tibetan Cooperatives in India Ltd, Tashi Wangdu; writer and poet Lukar Jam; and ex-army veteran Tashi Topgyal.
In the preliminary round of the election process, exiles will vote to short-list the names, and the Election Commission will declare two to six candidates as the final candidates. The preliminary election is scheduled on 18 October; then the Final will take place on 20 March 2016.
Forty-five members of the Parliament will also be voted for along with the election of Sikyong.
If the “stability” is his biggest achievement in the last five years, that’s not convincing me to vote him again.
Why wouldn’t there be “stability”? What efforts and energy did he put to bring this so called “stability”. It’s not making much sense to me. But that’s how our Sikyong feels.
The report has missed to write about his plans for the next five years, as he is running for reelection. Does he have any?