By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 21 March 2021
The Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration announced Penpa Tsering and Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang as the final candidates for Sikyong, the political leader of the exile Tibetans, for the 2021 elections.
The list of final candidates for the 17th Parliament was also announced, with 95 candidates, of which 45 will be elected by Tibetans around the world on 11 April. Some 80,000 Tibetans have registered to vote.
The candidates will have only 19 days to campaign, leaving any Sikyong candidates unable to cover most of the Tibetan settlements and clusters in 25 countries where Tibetans have presence. Members of Parliament have better chances to cover their areas, as their elections are based on limited countries.
The preliminary round of voting was held on 3 January, and the result was announced on 8 February, but the EC announced a campaign ban till today citing malicious and vilification in the campaigning that created unwarranted social disharmony in the last elections five years ago.
Imposing such a ban posed a question to the EC, levelling the restrictions as undemocratic, giving a short campaign period.
Among the 96 candidates for the parliament, 91 were chosen in the first round, and five are volunteer candidates.
Unlike in the preliminary round when the electorates had to provide all the details for their choice including the names of their choice, the final round ballot papers will have all the details, including photos of the candidates. Electorates will have to use a seal at the polling booth, crossing on the names of the candidates, to show the choices they are making.
About 70,000 of the total registered Tibetan voters in India, Nepal, and Bhutan will choose 40 members of Parliament. North/South America will elect two members, European countries will also chose two members, and Australasia will poll for one.
The official final results will be announced on 20 May.