By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 7 May 2016
Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile and a Sikyong 2016 candidate, Penpa Tsering, has been appointed as the new Representative for the Office of Tibet in Washington, DC, according to a statement from Sikyong Lobsang Sangay’s office.
Penpa Tsering is expected to take charge from 1 July, replacing Kaydor Aukatsang. His term as the Speaker will finish at the end of this month. It is unclear where Aukatsang would be transferred to.
The 49-year-old Speaker contested against the incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay for the post of Sikyong 2016, but lost in the elections held in March.
Lobsang Sangay won the elections after securing 33,876 votes which amounted to 57% of the total votes, as against the 24,864 votes or 42% of the total votes polled for Penpa Tsering by exile Tibetans around the world in 40 countries.
In the lead-up to the final round of election on 20 March, which was second of its kind after the Dalai Lama stepped back from political leadership, the candidates as well as their supporters were blamed for their involvement in negative campaigning and harping on trivial issues such as factionalism, rather than speaking on the issues.
Both Sangay and Tsering shook hands at a joint press conference in Dharamshala on 7 April, expressing no personal grudges and appealing to their supporters to calm down and not to drag the election fever any further.
The two also offered to apologise to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama after he criticised them for mudslinging during the elections and the falling state of affairs in the Tibetan settlements.
Sangay and Tsering, along with the three Justice Commissioners of the Central Tibetan Administration, had reportedly met with the Dalai Lama on 2 May. The Dalai Lama reportedly explained to them how he felt about their behaviour during the elections, and urged them them to take measures to correct their shortcomings. Details from this closed-door meeting are unavailable.
Tsering’s appointment as the DC representative by Sangay is seen as a move for rapprochement between the two, as well as much-needed damage control after the elections.
The Office of Tibet in the United States was established in 1964 to raise the issue of Tibet at the United Nations, coordinate visits of the Dalai Lama to North America, and mobilise support from the US and Canadian governments for the Tibetan cause. In April 2014 the Office relocated to Washington, DC, from New York.
Penpa Tsering’s appointment has to do more with His Holiness’ scolding of LS during their last meeting, I feel. HH has expressed displeasure at what Sangay has not achieved in the last five years, and the way he conducted his election campaigns.
LS must not have appointed PT out of reconciliation like LW has written. LS didn’t have the choice than to appoint him as HH has come down heavily on him with regard to many things.
HH has apparently mentioned Kaydor Aukartsang during the meeting also, weighing more towards dissatisfaction about his way of working. Kaydor was lucky with a joy ride for a few years for doing nothing. What was surprising was that LS called Kaydor to be his “Senior Advisor” before transferred to DC. Really? Kaydor may now be called back to Dharamshala.
I wish PT all the very best in his new post. PT being a Umaylam person, he surely will work towards making this policy a success. Rangzen people can do what they have to do, but to judge PT now for this or that is not viable. Let him do what he has to do and you do your things. Isn’t that how it works?
Though the appointment of Chithue Tsog Sur to the position of Ari Dhonchod does not seem to be quite unequivocal, nevertheless, it exudes a degree of sagacity given the status quo in our community between the U-Rang (Umey and Rangzen) entities; each group amplifying its voice to accentuate its mission in pursuing our cause through thick and thin, to say the least.
Welcome patriot Penpa Tsering and farewell to patriot Kaydor Ukartsang.
Congratulations Speaker Penpa Tsering La. I am confident that you will put in your best efforts where ever you work. You are an ideal leader. With best wishes!
Dear Editor, Thank you for the news report. It was an apt report without personal addition and colour. This appointment of Penpa was a shocker but let’s face it, Sangay has not appointed Penpa and will never! given a choice. […] His Holiness suggested Penpa to undo the huge damage to the Cholsum unity orchestrated indirectly by the Sangay and Penpa Supporters. But Penpa is a bad choice for Ari Dhonchoe. A fundementalalist MP fanatic in the Liberal land. A brute MP flag bearer in a vastly Rangzen followers. More crackdown on Rangzenpas coming further, a victory for the human trafficking Thinley Kalsang and Lhakpa Tsering. Aroya! What a Show, Picture Abhi Baki Hey Bhai.
Good to know that Sikyong Lobsang Sangay is learning morality along the way. Had it not been His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s advice at the right time, he would still be wagging his tail around his friends. Waiting for the 15th Kashag members. Hope Sikyong LS won’t disappoint us!