By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 14 May 2021
Penpa Tsering is officially declared the new Sikyong-elect of the Central Tibetan Administration by the Chief Tibetan Election Commissioner Wangdu Tsering Pesur in an online press conference.
The names of the 45 new members who were elected to the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile were also announced. There were an equal number of old and new faces in the new House.
A total of 34,324 votes went in favour of Tsering out of total 63,991 votes cast in the final round on 11 April, while contender Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang received 28,907. Penpa Tsering was 5,417 votes ahead of Kaydor. The voter turnout was 77% of the total 83,080 registered.
Tibet Sun projected 34,348 votes for Penpa Tsering and 28,764 for Kaydor Aukatsang in the final round, making it the closest to the official results compared to projects by other news agencies. There were only 24 votes difference for Penpa Tsering and 141 votes more in the case of Aukatsang.
Pending resolution of the constitutional crisis resulting from the ouster of the Chief Justice and two additional justices of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission by the Tibetan parliament, it’s not clear how the new Sikyong and members of Parliament will take oath of office.
Incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay completes his second five-year term on 26th of this month, and the 16th Parliament ends on 31st May.
The Parliament will hold an extra session on 20th of this month to try to resolve the crisis arisen after the ouster of the justices. This session itself is being seen as convened illegally as due process was not followed as mandated by Article 41 of the Tibetan Charter.
Another concern is whether a session could be held at all due to the severe Coronavirus situation in India, as well as in the Kangra district, where strict measures have been imposed to stem the surge in infections.
The secretary of the Parliament has asked all the members to attend the session; those who do not attend will be held responsible for the crisis. However, the five members from North America, Europe and Australia may not be able to attend due to the flight restrictions to India. Two from Nepal may also not be able to attend due to the lockdown in the country.