Exile Tibetans gearing up for general elections 2021

Chief Election Commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration Wangdu Tsering Pesur announcing the commencement of exile Tibetan elections 2021, accompanied by newly-appointed Additional Election Commissioners Sonam Gyaltsen, Tibetan history Professor at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, (left), and Geshema Delek Wangmo, teacher of Dolma Ling Nunnery, at the CTA headquarters in Dharamshala, India, on 5 August 2020.

Chief Election Commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration Wangdu Tsering Pesur announcing the commencement of exile Tibetan elections 2021, accompanied by newly-appointed Additional Election Commissioners Sonam Gyaltsen, Tibetan history Professor at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah, (left), and Geshema Delek Wangmo, teacher of Dolma Ling Nunnery, at the CTA headquarters in Dharamshala, India, on 5 August 2020. Tibet Sun/Contributor

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ON THE WEB, 5 August 2020

The Chief Election Commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), Wangdu Tsering Pesur, announced the commencement of the 2021 exile Tibetan general election process for electing a new president of the administration and members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.

Pesur was accompanied by newly-appointed Additional Election Commissioners Geshema Delek Wangmo, teacher of Dolma Ling Nunnery, and Sonam Gyaltsen, Tibetan history Professor at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah.

He said that despite the current challenges precipitated by the COVID-19 crisis, the Office of the Election Commission is committed to conducting the 2021 general elections according to the Tibetan election rules.

Saying that the outcome of the general elections would have significant impacts on the future of Tibetan people and the freedom struggle, Pesur urged every Tibetan to take part in the polls in the interest of the Tibetan cause.

The dates for the elections, which is a two-phase process of preliminary and final rounds, were not announced.

The Charter of the Tibetans-in-exile gives voting rights to those who are above 18 years of age and hold a Green Book, a tax receipt book identifying Tibetan allegiance to the CTA.

However, voters must have registered with the Regional Election Commission to be able to exercise their franchise. Dates for registration will be announced later.

It will be the fifth direct election for the top post of the exile Tibetans. The first election was held in 2001, and in 2011 the Dalai Lama completely abdicated his political powers, transferring them to the elected leader, now officially known as the President of the Central Tibetan Administration.

The elected leader then proposes the council of ministers to run seven departments of the CTA. The members of the Parliament approve or disapprove the names proposed to be the ministers.

Incumbent CTA president Lobsang Sangay and the current 16th Parliament’s five-year term will finish at the end of May.

The 45 members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile are also elected at the same time as the CTA president. It will be the 17th Parliament Tibetans will be choosing in the upcoming elections.

Tibetans in India, Nepal, and Bhutan will choose 10 members each from their respective province: Amdo, Kham, or U-Tsang. The monks and nuns elect two representatives each from their respective religious school: Bon, Gelug, Kagyu, Nyingma, or Sakya.

Europe and North America are represented by two representatives each, while one member comes from Australasia (excluding India, Nepal, and Bhutan) for the total 45-member House.

Unlike in the past, none of the associations or organisations can nominate or promote any candidates for the post of president or any names for the parliamentary elections.

Another new rule is curtailment of the campaigning period to three months, compared to six months in previous elections. Members of the Parliament decided on this new rule considering vilification of candidates by supporters of opposing candidates, and the rifts created within the community by long campaigns.


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