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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."

Tibetan Parliament to begin session from Monday

March 7, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
March 5, 2010

Dharamsala, March 5: The ninth session of the
14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile will kick-start here from Monday.

The March session is usually called the Budget
Session of the Tibetan Parliament, the highest
legislative organ of the exile polity, during
which, among other things, the Tibetan
legislators will discuss and approve the budget
of the exile Tibetan government for the fiscal year 2010-2011.

"As usual this March session is mainly devoted to
annual budget of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile
that includes administration of all the
government offices, including the regional ones.
Out of the 11-day session, at least 3-4 days will
be devoted to the budget matters," the Speaker of
the parliament Mr Penpa Tsering told Phayul.

A host of other issues, including the ones that
could not be either discussed or approved during
the last session held in September 2009, are also
to be discussed during the 11-day session from March 8-20, the speaker said.

The eighth session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament
came to an end entirely short of its final
concluding session after a section of MPs staged
a confrontational walkout from the session after
failing to come to a resolve a motion moved by a fellow MP.

"Of the remaining list of motions, the more
significant one is the decision to hold a second
‘Special Meeting’ following the first one that
was held in November 2008,” Mr Penpa said.

"The motion had already been thoroughly discussed
in the last session and remains to be approved by
the parliament. If approved during this session,
the meeting will possibly take place in Bylakoppe
Tibetan settlement (in southern Indian state of
Karnataka) from August 26 to 31," he said.

Along with it, Mr Penpa said, there is also a
strong suggestion to hold a more elaborate
commemoration of the Tibetan Democracy Day this year on September 2.

"This year marks the 50th anniversary of the
foundation of the Tibetan democracy. So, it is
suggested that a grand commemoration be held in a
bigger Tibetan settlement area with a larger
Tibetan populace. So there will be discussion on
that and it is likely that it will again take
place in Bylakoppe Tibetan settlement," he said.

Another major proposal for discussion will be,
Penpa said, on the proposed amendment to the Tibetan parliamentary election.

Mr Penpa said one significant motion is to
increase the number of MPs by two- one additional
representative from North America and another one
from any other other regions other than North
America, Europe, India, Nepal and Bhutan.

With all these, the speaker says he is hoping to
have a smooth functioning and a meaningful outcome from the upcoming session.

The Tibetan Parliament is a one-house Parliament,
which meets twice a year for about a fortnight
each with an interval of six months.

The 14th Tibetan Parliament has 43 members, who
are elected representing the three traditional
provinces of Tibet (U-Tsang, Do-toe and Do-med)
and five major religious sects, including the
traditional Bon, of Tibet. Three members are
elected by Tibetans in the West - one from North America and two from Europe.

The members are directly elected by Tibetan
exiles above the age of 18 from their respective constituencies.

The Tibetan people, both inside and outside
Tibet, consider the government-in-exile to be the
sole legitimate government of Tibet.

An estimated 150, 000 Tibetans live in exile, the
majority of them in India and Nepal.

The exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the Dalai
Lama set up Tibet’s Government exile in
Dharamshala after he and his followers fled to
India in 1959, nine years after China occupied
Tibet. The Dalai Lama declared democracy for
Tibetans in 1960 and promulgated a constitution
for a future Tibet, based on the principles of
modern democracy. On 2nd September 1960 members
of the first Tibetan parliament were sworn in,
marking the first concrete step toward the
democratization of the Tibetan polity.

The Dalai Lama and the government in exile have
in recent years been campaigning for greater autonomy for Tibet.
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