By Tibet Sun Onlinenews
ON THE WEB, 3 February 2016
The Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration announced incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile Penpa Tsering as the two candidates running for the post of Sikyong (Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration) in 2016.
They have been shortlisted from a preliminary round of voting in October last year in which more than 47,000 exile Tibetans around the world participated. The final round of election is scheduled for 20 March.
The Chief Election Commissioner of the CTA, Sonam Choephel Shosur, also announced the list of the final candidates for the 16th Parliament. Each of the three provinces — Amdo, Kham and U-Tsang — have twenty candidates, and the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and Bon have four candidates each.
The stipulated four candidates each have been shortlisted for Europe, North America, and Australasia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).
In addition to nominees elected in October, there are a few volunteer candidates. There is one volunteer candidate for U-Tsang, two volunteer candidates for North America, and one volunteer candidate for Australasia.
The action of the Election Commission proves that the Tibetan government system is still what Chinese called old system, in which new thoughts and expression are crushed and dissenters are labelled as treacherous and religious saboteurs. Like, LangDharma’s idea to strengthen military structure has caused him to label as Demon, and illiterate and uneducated people believed the words spread by lamas and aristocrat elites. The masses were not given the right to education so that the few aristocrat elites could stay on top of the pyramid.
The Election Commission should immediately retract their new rules and offer a public apology for undemocratic action. The entire world is watching Dharamshala, as US Congressman and Co-Chairman of the Congressional Tibetan Caucus Dana Rohrabacher on 1 February wrote a letter addressed to US Secretary of State, John Kerry, and USAID Administrator saying that “I write to express my concerns over troubling rules enacted in relation to that election. These rules appear to have the effect of anti-democratically restricting free speech and free association, at a time when the current CTA incumbents are seeking reelection.”
“Given the ongoing support (19 Million USD consolidated, 2014 and 6 Million USD, 2016), I believe the US government also continues to monitor how the CTA is operating, including whether its current leadership is complying with accepted democratic standards,” Rohrabacher wrote.
It is very sad the Election Commission arbitrarily decided to limit the final election to just 2 Sikyong candidates when the Charter allows for up to 6 Sikyong candidates. This decision was done after the preliminary election where Lukar Jam, the only Rangzen candidate, came in third. Such actions make a mockery of Tibetan democracy. The Tibetan people should decide who will be Sikyong, not the Election Commission.