By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 20 March 2016
Lobsang Sangay is leading in the opening results of the exile Tibetan general elections 2016 from Australasia.
In all Australasia results, Lobsang Sangay is leading with 478 votes and Penpa Tsering trailing with 459.
Incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and Speaker Penpa Tsering are the two candidates vying for the post of Sikyong, the Prime Minister of the Central Tibetan Administration, based in the North Indian hill station McLeod Ganj.
Tens of thousands of exile Tibetans cast their ballots for a Sikyong and members of the Parliament on Sunday at 85 different places around the world. The official election result will be announced by the Election Commission on 27 April.
Long queues were seen in both McLeod Ganj and the Library area, where the CTA is based, to elect the next leader of the government-in-exile.
An international delegation mostly consisting of politicians from Australia and Europe observed the Tibetan Election. French Senator Andre Gattolin said that the elections have been well arranged. He added that it’s free and fair, and with the Indian police providing security, it’s secure.
Sikyong Sangay and Speaker Tsering both cast their votes at the Library booth. The candidate who came third in the preliminary round of voting, Lukar Jam, also cast his vote there.
Interacting with the media after casting his vote, Sangay said that he had raised the profile of CTA in international forums to some extent, and established a better relationship with the Government of India.
He said that domestically he improved things in the field of education, and had made major investments in this field, and that the next focus will be on entrepreneurship.
Regarding the political position of the CTA, Sangay said, “The middle-way policy will continue. Dialogue will be the main initiative. I hope the Chinese President Xi Jinping in his second term in 2017, will look at the Tibet issue.”
“We hope Xi Jinping will take the initiative. But the ground reality is repression,” Sangay added.
Penpa Tsering, who trailed Sangay by 20,000 votes in the preliminary election round, after casting his vote said, “I took every effort to make the electorate informed about the reality of the situation and I also talked a lot about what I intend to do. So I hope the people are aware of the situation and they will vote with conscience.”
He is running for the post with the promises of better governance, and to revive the stalled China-Tibet dialogue.
“We should have a healthy democratic process. It’s very important. His Holiness took 60 years to build it up to this level so we have to take it up now.”