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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

No change in two-term limit on Kalon Tripa post

September 19, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
Phayul
September 16, 2010

Dharamsala, Sep 16 -- The Tibetan Parliament on
Thursday did not approve a proposed amendment to
the Tibetan Charter (Constitution) that could
lift the two-term limit on the post of the Prime
Minister of the Tibetan Government-in exile.

The amendment bill if passed could pave a way for
the immensely popular Tibetan Prime Minister Prof
Samdhong Rinpoche to seek re-election for a third
consecutive term when the elections are held next year.

The Tibetan PM, however, raised objections to the
proposed amendment in the House here this
morning, saying such a move could pose obstacle
to the progressive growth of democracy in the exile Tibetan polity.

Like many democratic countries, the Charter of
the Tibetan Exiles bars a candidate from serving
more than two consecutive terms.

Although the amendment bill was introduced in the
parliament by majority, the Tibetan prime
minister appealed that there was no need for a
debate on the proposed amendment in the house.

The house later voted without debate and did not
get the two-third majority required to approve
the proposed legislation. Only 11 lawmakers out
of the 43-member parliament voted in favour of the proposed bill.

Rinpoche also objected to the nature, intent and
timing of introducing such a amendment bill in the parliament.

By proposing such an amendment bill at a point
when the election process are already put into
full swing will not serve any purpose other than
sending wrong and confusing signals in the democratic process, Rinpoche said.

Even if such a proposed amendment bill had been
brought during the last session in March, it
would have already been too late, he added.

Lawmakers supporting the proposed amendment,
however, say it was brought in the house on the
basis of the popular "will of the people".
Critics on the other hand reject their claims and
have called it a temporary publicity stunts to
win public support ahead of the upcoming general elections.

In 2001, Prof Samdhong Rinpoche became the first
directly elected prime minister after the Dalai
Lama, as part of an effort to further democratize
the Tibetan polity towards the late 1990’s,
called for a directly "elected political leader"
of the Tibetans living in exile.

Rinpoche is currently running his second
consecutive term in the office after he secured a
landslide victory in the 2006 elections receiving
more than 29,000 votes (90.72%) of the total votes cast.

Rinpoche will complete his term in August next year.

The 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, which has
been in session since September 7, will end
tomorrow. This is the second last session of the
14th Tibetan Parliament before it dissolves after the March session next year.

The forthcoming general elections will decide the
third directly elected Tibetan PM and also the
successor to the incumbent Kalon Tripa, marking
the first democratic transfer of executive power
in the history of the Tibetan nation. It will
also see the election of members who will form
the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
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