NEW YORK, US, 27 July 2016
Splitting the Speaker responsibility in half
The splitting of an elected position’s term between two people is almost unheard of in democracies around the world, but we Tibetans are splitting the five-year Speaker term for the second time. In 2006 the speaker term was split between MP Penpa Tsering and late MP Karma Chophel. This time around it is split between MP Sonam Tenphel and MP Pema Jugney. This is ugly. Both the speakers are accountable only half the way, and both gain half-ass experience.
Besides, in such a scenario of vote tie, there is no law in the exile charter or in the electoral rule book to resolve the situation. Only a few more rounds of voting are conducted, with the same result of tie. Hence this practice of splitting the speaker responsibility into first half and second half is applied.
MP Tsering Youdon
This 22 MP vs 22 MP tie or draw issue could have been easily avoided if MP Tsering Youdon had showed up on the speaker voting day. But she did not. Of course, she had to attend her daughter’s graduation in the US and this is fine. But the graduation ceremony did not end on the day of speaker voting day. It ended long before the speaker election. But she showed up the very day after the election ended in a tie. I am relieved she was not struck by any natural disaster or some real tragedy which I had thought would be the cause for her not showing up on such an important political day. Usually she is a responsible MP.
In a small parliament like ours it’s not hard to find out who voted for whom. If she wanted to vote for MP Sonam Tenphel she should have done so if she thought he as an independence believer deep down could be more welcoming to Lukar Gem and the independence voice. She should have done so without feeling uncomfortable about being caught later over what camp she voted. MP Tsewang Rigzin voted Sonam Tenphel, not Pema Jugney who is a staunch Middle-Way supporter. He did it, even naively ignoring the provincial undertones in the selection process. Well, that’s his clear stand.
MP Pema Chazoetsang voted for Sonam Tenphel because she believes having the clergy in the political parliament or having a monk as a Speaker is unique to our democracy, implying that monks or the clergy are morally purer than lay folks. I absolutely reject this claim. But that’s for the next article.
Former Home Minister Gyari Doma
Sometime ago former Home Minister Gyari Doma made it clear she would not do a second term as a minister because that would deprive her of the opportunity to stand for Sikyong 2021. The exile charter does not allow a two-timer as minister to contest the Sikyong election.
Yes, she is standing for Sikyong 2021. And that is most welcome. But the greatest threat she sees is in the politician and statesperson of the one and only former MP Dhardon Sharling. The next election would decide a female Sikyong. Voters are getting tired of male domination for 60 years in exile political life.
Former MP Dhardon Sharling and the 2021 Sikyong
Besides being a woman, young, educated, confident, experienced, and dedicated, Dhardon commands a huge vote from Ngari, as she is from Ngari on her mother’s side. Ngari in exile is a substantial vote bank. Also Utsangs, regardless of what region in Utsang they belong to, are more than happy to vote for her as they are, among other great reasons, tired of Khampa hegemony and negative regionalism for the past 40 years. For the same reason Amdowas will follow suit.
Lobsang Sangay assured Dhardon he would handle the age issue if it popped up. It came so suddenly and unexpectedly from Lobsang Sangay, who only asked her what year she was born. And the next day Sikyong nominated her, and the Parliament including Speaker and Deputy speaker approved it. None of the MPs raised the age issue. But in two days Lobsang Sangay removed Dhardon from the said post like some vermin because of what he says is objections raised in the media.
Since when did the Cabinet listen to objections raised in the media? Objections were raised on the high-handedness of Dhasa on Radio Free Asia, VOA, and even on the Phayul news portal. Did Sikyong listen then? What about the name row for Lobsang Sangay himself? For ordinary Tibetans, a one-letter error in the name is a crime and you lose the prospect of getting a scholarship, IC, or election seat. “Lobsang Sangay” (his IC name) and “Lobsang Senge” are two different names in both meaning and pronunciation, besides being different in spelling. Did Dhasa apply the same standard? No. He used both names to win votes with arrogance and impunity. Welcome to the world of hypocrisy.
As soon as Dhardon was made to take the minister oath, the 11th position Utsang MP was moved in to take her spot. This MP is Lobsang Sangay’s brother-in-law.
In any country, for example USA, if any person has just turned 21 — meaning 20 years plus 1 or more days — is under the law 21 years of age and can vote, and buy cigarettes and hard drinks. Also the second item of article 21 of the exile charter clearly states minimum 35 years of age as the condition, which requirement she fulfills. She is 34 years and 9 months old or we can say she is 35 running.
The article does not state one should be 35 years and a day or more old. Nor does it demand the age completion of 12,776 days on earth. So to say she has not violated the age requirement law at all. She should be brought back to her position as minister with honour and a gala dinner either by this October or earlier when Dhardon hits 35 years and 1 day old.
Till then, stay tuned.
PS I urge MP Dawa Phunkyi not to propose or second a move against her nomination. Doing so not only will contradict all the support you gave her a few months ago but will also fragment our newly-gained solidarity when it is needed most.
About the author
Mila Rangzen is a US armed forces veteran serving the New York Community as an immigration translator. He can be reached at [email protected]
Indeed there has been a lot of Drama in Tibetan politics in the last few months, and it will continue until the end of September when the Parliament will see Sikyong Sangay trying to appoint Dhardon Sharling as the DIIR Kalon.
I wonder if it will be acceptable to appoint Sharling again for reasons such as the rules and regulations in our Charter that says if someone has been rejected for the post of Kalon once by the Parliament CANNOT be appointed a kalon again.
Two, it’s about the morals and the integrity of the person standing for a kalon. Sharling has lied under the oath of office to become a kalon. What Mila Rangzen is saying is out of context here. If you say you have 100 dollars, 99.9 will not make it 100. So how can 34 years and few months make it 35.
If Sangay proposes her again, it will not only show Sikyong Sangay being morally corrupt, but will also show his disregard for the Tibetan charter, the exile Parliament, and the Tibetan people.
Hope the members of the Parliament will not be prove to be corrupt like our Sikyong and take the right decision and cast the right vote for a clean and transparent Tibetan democracy.
Sangay has become so helpless. His requests to some of the people to be in his new cabinet have been rejected. He was left with no choice then to ask in the last minute people like Karma Yeshi and Choekyong Wangchuk for kalon. They both have been rejected by the people from voting in the Parliament. This should be recorded clearly.
Mila rangzen the day dreamer. shock that how this baseless article being considered in journal. Even lay man can express his own opinion, suggest the journal team don’t waste time.
[[Dear Kunga, yes, any layman can express their own opinion. Politics and government are by, for, and about people — real people, not “experts”. thank you! — Web Admin]]
The author is writing as if he knows the inside of our political system, but at the end it seems more like Wild Guess and Hypothesis. I wonder how can he predict who votes for whom, when ‘ a secret voting. And to blame a lone absentee, chitue Tsering Youdon, for the two-Speaker scenario is totally unfair. Has the author really called chitue Dawa Phunkyi on Sikyong’s nominating Dhardon to kalon post again. Why the drama? He won’t and she shouldn’t. She must reset/re-format and start afresh in 2020 for Sikyong. She doesn’t require Sikyong’s help to kickstart her higher political goals. Its pathetic she doesn’t realize her strength. Well, all is fair in love and politics, what can i say? but Amen
Yes, you all are true. Its a masterstroke gone awry… Dhardon la seems caught in the fix and a maze, difficult to unravel. She was a budding future leader, now maybe her Political Career is nipped in the bud. Of course, its a huge loss. But no Sobbings, she will get something, She is way ahead of time and age, She know the Ways of the World. … [[comment guidelines]]
The article seems to have a lot of regionalism, favoritism and ulterior motive. It only seems to confirm the author’s feelings, unleashed without an iota of care and concern for the Tibetan politics. Earlier he deconstructed the entire Tibetan religion and culture. Now he is up the political system.
Here the author targets individuals with wild guesses and attempts to undo their lifelong service and sacrifice without evidence. Except Chisur Dhardon, whose interest the vehemently tries to champion though shamelessly. He concluded by painting her as an innocent victim of Sikyong’s larger conspiracy.
He suggests Sikyong to re-propose her for Kalon and get grilled and fail in the next Chitue Session, as it’s amply clear that the Tibetan Charter bans and bars any Kalon candidate who fails the Kalon voting through disqualification. So there can be no next time for Chisur Dhardon. Forget about aspiring for Sikyong 2021, she cannot even aspire for Kalon ever. She is done with politics. But it would be boln for Tibetan activism, her only qualification. Leave Sikyong alone. He is doing a great job for US.
Read the whole article and found it good. But this article creates more suspicion saying 11th U-Tsang MP is Lobsang Sangay’s brother-in-law and about MP Tsering Youdon absence. Is it really necessary in an objective article. I am no way fan of Lobsang Sangay and I have voted for Penpa Tsering.
This whole regionalism issue in our community is almost created by elder people who are or in ways have connection or have worked for Central Tibetan Administration and also some Geshe, Tulku and Monks. This you can see from the Kundun’s speech during swearing-in Ceremony of Sikyong Dr Lobsang on 27 May 2016. I can tell you that, most of young people who are in their 20s and 30s don’t have this regionalism issue.
Regarding MP Dhardon Sharling. I accept that she is a good and a capable woman. In our charter (Tibetan), it says “person who reach complete 35 years” and she didn’t satisfy this condition. So, our charter stands correct. This is fault of Sikyong, Speaker, and Dhardon Sharling not knowing what our charter states or may be pretending. This is for you to judge. But for me age doesn’t matter in our current time and society. She can be a Kalon. We can have 10+ Kalon, what’s the big deal? Kalons had to perform their job and deliver what they promise. If not, then even one Kalon is trash.
I really doubt if Central Tibetan Administration will be much better than right now under Penpa Tsering. Yes, there will be improvement, transparency and truthfulness. But internal politics will remain mostly unchanged.