Online platform launched for candidates for exile Tibetan elections

Tibet Sun Online News

ON THE WEB, 27 June 2020

As the exile Tibetan elections for their political leader and representatives in the Parliament approaches in a few months, a group of Tibetans have created a website as a platform to know their candidates better.

Called SmartVote Tibet, the online platform will help Tibetan voters to better understand the issues and evaluate the profiles of the candidates in a fact-based and informed way for the Tibetan Elections 2020/21.

For the platform to be interactive and informative, the team is expecting people’s engagement by sending questions and views through their website.

The SmartVote Tibet team will review the submissions, and a short-listed set of about 30 questions will be presented to those who will be running for the top post of Central Tibetan Administration (President/Sikyong) or to be a member of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile for them, to answer online.

The questions can be submitted through 26 July at their website. The majority of the answers will be in a Yes/No or Agree/Disagree format, explained Tenzin Sewo, one of the members associated with the initiative.

Through this process, the team is expecting to generate a public profile of the candidates who will participate in this question and answer session, which will help to have a better understanding of the candidates.

In a second step, which will be the main part of the SmartVote Tibet initiative, the process will conclude by ranking the candidates after another round of question and answer session, to show who is closest to the individuals voter’s preferences.

The SmartVote Tibet team members are from Zurich, London, and Dharamshala, with prominent members including Dechen Pemba and Wangpo Tethong.

Pemba in a press note has said, “With a view to constructively strengthening our democracy, we are happy to contribute with a user-friendly solution that will assist voters to make an informed decision on election day. “‘SmartVote Tibet’ is a brilliant tool and we hope Tibetans will make use of this technology.”

Another member of the group, Dondup Shelkar, feels that in the time of the Coronavirus pandemic, this initiative could be useful when in-person participation in campaign events may not be possible.

The platform is an adapted version of SmartVote, which was first developed in 2003 by Politools in Switzerland. The tool has then been successfully implemented for elections in Switzerland, Australia, Luxembourg, Austria, and Scotland, as well as in the European Union.

Tibetans will go to polls in two phases for preliminary and final rounds after the Tibetan Election Commission announces the election dates, expected in August or September. Campaigning will be allowed for three months for the preliminary round, and after announcing the candidates for the final round, campaigning will be allowed for one month.

The five-year terms of the current CTA President Lobsang Sangay and the 45 members of the 16th Parliament will conclude at the end of May 2021.

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