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

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus 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.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid