News / Asia

Transfer of Power a Difficult Road for Tibet's Government-in-Exile

Parliamentarians of Tibet's government-in-exile drink tea and talk during a break from a parliament session in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, March 21, 2011.
Parliamentarians of Tibet's government-in-exile drink tea and talk during a break from a parliament session in the northern Indian town of Dharamshala, March 21, 2011.

The Tibetan parliament-in-exile has formed a committee to determine how to transfer political power from the Dalai Lama to his eventual successor.

The move came after 83,000 exiled Tibetans across the world voted on March 20 to elect a new political leader. The Tibetan government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India, will announce the results of the election in April.

The Dalai Lama has announced that he is resigning from politics to focus on spiritual matters. The 76-year-old Nobel peace laureate has called for reform of Tibet’s government-in-exile for decades, but says he will continue in his role as Tibet’s Buddhist spiritual leader.

Listen to the entire interview here

Losang Gyatso, chief of VOA’s Tibetan service, speaks with VOA’s Sarah Williams about this historic transition in Tibetan politics.

"The Dalai Lama has started on a path of introducing a democratic system, let’s say from the early 1960’s, and that has taken shape in exile, based in Dharamsala in northern India, where a parliament was formed and where a cabinet was formed.  But it wasn’t until the 2001 election for the prime minister in Tibet, and it’s called a “Kalon Tripa” where the people directly elected the prime minister.  So, this particular time would be the third prime minister election in exile.  And I think the Dalai Lama possibly he feels that it’s moving too slowly, and the idea of him actually devolving his authority maybe a solution to the Tibetan people taking greater responsibility in electing their leaders."

Transfer of Power a Difficult Road for Tibet's Government-in-Exile
Transfer of Power a Difficult Road for Tibet's Government-in-Exile

These are sort of all the reasons why this is happening now. But how do you as a Tibetan feel about this election?

"I personally feel that this is a good and very, very insightful and very powerful step that the Dalai Lama is taking.  It’s very difficult for us Tibetans, there’s a very sizeable element of Tibetan population is probably quite traumatized by this. His statement of March 10 and his statement of March 14 to the Tibetan parliament in exile, if that were to be actually implemented, it means the Dalai Lama would no longer be the temporal leader of Tibet. This would be the first time in 350 years, there’s quite a bit of trauma associated with this for the Tibetan people. It’s a challenge to Tibetan exile electorate who are voting for leaders in exile. But it’s also a very huge challenge for Tibetans inside of Tibet. They have to start to negotiate this next phase of Tibetan leadership, so it’s a very interesting and difficult period, I must say."

What is at stake in this election?

"Well this election that occurred is for the prime minister of the Tibetan exiles who has the authority to choose a cabinet to run the various departments.  This election was also for parliamentarians, there are 42 parliament members, also based in India.  So, it’s like a double election and the importance of the parliament elections has been a little overshadowed by the interest and excitement about the prime minister’s election. To date, I would say, the quality of the Tibetan parliament has been spotty at best with people really paying more attention to local and sectarian issues, rather than Tibetan national interests, so I think this is another wake-up call, it’s the importance of the parliament, the lawmaking body of the Tibetan government-in-exile."

What is the process for this election? Is it true the final results will not be known until next month?

"Yes, I am personally puzzled also why it takes so long to announce. The elections [have taken place] throughout the world; most of the Tibetan electorate is in India, in local communities, settlements, villages and towns where Tibetans have settled in India, and also in Europe and North America and elsewhere. The process is relatively simple.  I went to vote, you choose between the three candidates and also North America has two parliament members, so we chose from amongst five candidates. And then these elections are tallied, the results are tallied, sent to New York, which forwards it on to Dharamsala. So, I’m not sure why the counting process would take that long, but in prior times, and I’m not sure how it is now because of the Dalai Lama’s statement, but after the results are tallied, they are also presented to the Dalai Lama’s office for confirmation, and then announcements are made, so it’s going to take until April 27.

What are some of the challenges that will be facing the new Tibetan leader?


"Well the challenges are essentially challenges that Tibetans have been facing for the last 50 years. But I think there’s acuteness to the challenges because of the Dalai Lama’s desire to depart from the political scene, because of the Dalai Lama’s age, because of the intransigence of Beijing to make any meaningful progress in Tibet or in the dialogue process with the Dalai Lama. I think while the nature of the challenges remain the same, they’re becoming compounded with time.


You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs