By Lobsang Wangyal
McLEOD GANJ, India, 7 June 2021
The newly-elected members of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile will take oath as planned on the morning of 8 June, but some will be taking oath in violation of the Tibetan Charter.
A circular issued to the new members by the Parliamentary Secretary detailing the event stated that the new members could take oath either before the Protem Speaker Dawa Tsering or before the portrait of the Dalai Lama.
However, Article 47 of the Tibetan Charter mandates that each new member takes their oath of office before the Protem Speaker. There’s no other provision, such as taking oath before the portrait of the Dalai Lama.
According to the circular, the suggestion for taking oath before the Dalai Lama portrait, which would violate the Charter, has come from the Election Commission.
Close to half of the new members, comprising Kham province and the religious sects, have apprised the Parliament Secretary that they will not be taking the oath before the Protem Speaker, but before the portrait of the Dalai Lama.
If all members of Kham and the religious sects are dissenting, there will be 20 of them. It has also been learned that one member of U-Tsang province has also sided with the dissenters.
The members who are refusing to take oath before the Protem Speaker complain that the Chief Justice and the other two Justice Commissioners have been expelled from their posts, and their resuming the office was unlawful.
The Protem Speaker Dawa Tsering will take oath before the Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission at 9am.
Tsering, as the longest-serving member of the House, is chosen as Protem Speaker, whose job is to oversee the oath-taking by the newly-elected members.
It has been learned that those who would be taking oath before the Dalai Lama portrait would have the event at 9am, and those who are taking oath before the Protem Speaker will be doing so at 10am.
The new House will then elect the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the the 17th Parliament, followed by election of the new ministers of Sikyong Penpa Tsering’s Cabinet.