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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Supporters of Tenzin Namgyal Tethong launch campaign website

September 19, 2010

By Tenzin Tsering
September 18, 2010

Dharamsala, Sep. 17 -- Supporters of Tenzin
Namgyal Tethong, comprising mainly of young
Tibetans, on Friday officially launched a global
campaign supporting Tethong’s candidacy for the
position of Kalon Tripa (Tibetan Prime Minister)
in 2011, through the launch of an election website.

"At this critical time in our nation's history,
we are confident that he (Tethong) is the best
person, with a record of over 40 years of
dedicated and visionary service to the Tibetan
government and to the Tibetan people, for the
office of Kalon Tripa," said the group at a press conference for the launch.

Mr. Sonam Topgyal, former Prime Minister of the
Tibetan government in exile, inaugurated the
website - - at the press
conference, and was accompanied by a committee of Tethong’s supporters.

Topgyal formally endorsed Tethong as the next
Kalon Tripa, saying that in order to assume the
responsibilities that come with holding the
highest position of office in the Tibetan exile
government, one must be a seasoned personality
with integrity and experience in both the Tibetan
administration as well as in the international system.

Tethong is equipped with three decades of service
to the Tibetan government in exile, coupled with
two decades of dedicated and continuous efforts
for the Tibetan cause through his work in
multiple non-government organizations, he added.

The campaign website, which is not officially
affiliated with Tethong, features sections where
one can read Tethong’s biography including an
outline of his service and roles in the Tibetan
government and his priorities if he became Kalon
Tripa. Visitors to the website can also watch his
videos, download campaign materials, read
endorsements from other organizations and
individuals, or leave one’s opinions, among others.

"This is a critical time for Tibet, and there is
no room for error and learning on the job," the
support group wrote in a statement posted on the
website. “The Tibetan people need a tried and
true leader," the group said, while citing
Tethong’s long list of accomplishments.

Tethong began his political career in 1967 and
ever since, his service to the Tibetan cause has
never ceased, even after his days as a civil
servant in the 90’s, the group said.

Topgyal too recalled his early days of
association with Tethong, dating back to 1968
when they founded Sheja magazine to working
together in Dharamsala in the exile government.
“I have known him as an honest and competent
leader who can also comfortably engage with any
personality from different walks of life,” he said.

Topgyal, however, said it was unfortunate that
many Tibetans are unaware of his service to the
Tibetan community, and reasoned that this was
partly due to Tethong’s humility and restraints
in making claims of his achievements.

Speaking of a report that appeared in Mangtso
newspaper (not in publication now) in April 1995,
Topgyal said the paper “wrongly” created rumours
of Tethong’s involvement in embezzlement of funds
after his presentation of the Tibetan exile
government’s budget earlier that same year.
“Tethong did not feel compelled to clarify this
rumour at the time as he understood it as the
work of a few who had a different agenda against
him," said Topgyal, who was then the Kalon Tripa
while Tethong served as the Minister of Finance.

"I know him as an honest and a dedicated Tibetan
leader who will shoulder the Kalon Tripa office
most efficiently” Topgyal said of Tethong, who
has served as Kalon Tripa, in addition to that of
the Minister of Finance, of Home and of
Information and International Relations.

"The best way to judge a political leader is to
look at their past achievements and we see him as
a visionary pioneer who has demonstrated his
ability to anticipate the long-term political
needs of the Tibetan struggle" the support group said.

The Tibetan exile diaspora will go to vote their
next Kalon Tripa in two phases, with the
preliminary election due in October 2010 and the final elections in March 2011.

Prof. Samdong Rinpoche who is currently running
his second consecutive term as the Prime Minister
will complete his tenure in August next year, and
the Tibetan exile community will witness the
first democratic transfer of the executive power
in the history of Tibetan nation.
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