By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 13 January 2021
As the preliminary round of elections draws to a close, results showed Penpa Tsering as the front-runner for the post of Sikyong, with comfortable margins.
Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang trailing second came as a surprise in this elections, and will challenge Tsering in the final round in April.
Gyari Dolma, who was expected to make it to the finals, followed Aukatsang with a difference of 650 votes, and is now out of the race for Sikyong 2021 according to the rules of the the Election Commission.
With just a few smaller polling places still to announce their results, Penpa Tsering’s lead of more than 23,000 votes from the total 60,000 will not change his position.
The unannounced votes are also not likely to affect Kaydor Aukatsang’s more than 13,000 votes, and his 650-vote lead over Gyari Dolma.
Dongchung Ngodup, another well-known name, secured a little over 9,000 votes.
The official results will be announced by the Election Commission on 8 February, naming the two candidates for Sikyong 2021 and the candidates for the new 17th parliament, for the final round of voting to be held on 11 April.
A video has gone viral showing the Election Commissioner Pesur Wangdu Tsering saying if the difference between the second and the third is less than 20%, both the second and third will be made candidates in the final round.
This video was in context of explaining an issue that arose in the 2016 elections, as that was the condition then, but the third candidate was far behind the second candidate to fulfil the condition. He was then not invited to contest the final round.
Only two candidates will be contesting the post of Sikyong in the final round. However, if there are two in second place securing the same number of votes, then both of them will be declared to be candidates in the contest, making three candidates in the final round.
“The Election Commission has clearly announced that unless there are two in second place securing the same number of votes, only two — the first and the second — will be declared as the final candidates,” explained an official at the Election Commission.
A total of 80,000 exile Tibetans around the world registered to vote. Around 60,000 people took part in the preliminary round on 3 January.
The counting of votes began on 5 January, and was to be completed on 12 January and the results announced on that day. A few places in Nepal and Bhutan haven’t announced their results yet.