Tibetan top court refuses to swear in Topgyal Tsering as minister

Cabinet Secretary of the Central Tibetan Administration Topgyal Tsering in a file photo taken on 18 March 2019.

Cabinet Secretary of the Central Tibetan Administration Topgyal Tsering in a file photo taken on 18 March 2019. Tibet Sun/Contributor

By Lobsang Wangyal

McLEOD GANJ, India, 29 March 2019

Despite being approved as minister by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, the top court of Tibet-in-exile, the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, has refused to swear in Topgyal Tsering, specifying a technical lapse.

Tsering, the Cabinet Secretary of the Central Tibetan Administration, was declared elected by Speaker Pema Jungney on 22 March. He received 21 votes out of the 43 members present in the House.

However, the Commission has refused to accept his appointment, citing Articles 22 and 86 which say that the appointment will need 50% of the votes of the members. The Commission’s refusal was because the 21 votes of the 43 members make 48.8%.

Prior to the voting, the Speaker had announced that 21 would be the figure for Tsering to be appointed. He didn’t cast his own secret ballot. Eighteen members voted against the choice proposed by CTA President Lobsang Sangay. Two votes were invalid and one was blank. Jungney’s argument was that 50% of 43 members would be 21.5 members, and that the decimal will not be counted.

The conflict arose because the figure in percentage came to 48.8%, making it less than 50%.

Tibet Sun has learned that the Speaker has written to the Commission asking them to accept the result, citing Article 58 which states that the Commission has no power to nullify any decision taken by the Parliament.

The Secretary of the Commission refused to answer a request by Tibet Sun for an explanation about the deadlock.

The Speaker also refused to take questions, leaving it unclear what would happen with this stalemate.


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