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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 exiles go to preliminary polls

October 4, 2010

By Phurbu Thinley
October 3, 2010

Dharamsala, Oct. 3 -- Hundreds of thousands of
Tibetan exiles across the world on Sunday went to
polls to cast their ballots to nominate
candidates for the post of Kalon Tripa and
members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

Although the voter turnout may vary from place to
place, thanks to the highly publicized campaigns
initiated by various NGOs, youth groups and
individuals alike, the overall figure of
registered voters is little higher this time than
that of the last general elections held in 2006,

As of the August 18 voter registration deadline,
according to the Election Commission of the
Central Tibetan Administration, 79,449 people
were registered to vote in the 2011 general elections.

In the last general elections held in 2006,
72,776 (60%) were registered to vote and, an
estimated 26.8% (32,205 people) actually voted.

The latest population census conducted by the
Tibetan Planning Commission last year shows
little over 89,000 Tibetans of the approximately
150,000 Tibetans in exile are above the age of 18 and are eligible to vote.

While the registered voters have increased by
6678, more than 9000 people have failed to register.

In Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibet’s government
in exile in north India, 10 polling booths were
set up in different locations as approximately
11,000 registered Tibetan voters here are
expected to go to the polls from and

In McLeod Ganj, the town in Upper Dharamsala,
known worldwide for the presence of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama where he has resided since fleeing
Tibet in 1959, hundreds lined up since early
morning to cast their votes in the courtyard of
the Main Tibetan Temple (Tsuglag-khang).

As the voting continued here, a special message
by the exiled Tibetan leader His Holiness the
Dalai Lama on the elections was also played
simultaneously into a loudspeaker. In the
message, which was first delivered during a
special meeting of Tibetan exiles held a month
ago in Bylakoppe Tibetan settlement in South
India, the Dalai Lama applauded the progressive
steps taken by Tibetan exiles towards democratic
process, while at the same time urging them to be
be prudent about the situation facing Tibet.

In the message, the Tibetan leader also said he
had no preference in personally endorsing a
candidate of his choice, and added that he would
stand by a popularly elected Kalon Tripa.

Other polling booths were set up at Gangkyi
premise, Norbu Lingkha, College for Higher
Tibetan Studies, Gyuto Monastic University, Lower
TCV School, Upper TCV School, Tibetan Transit
School, TCV Gopalpur and Chamunda area.

The 2011 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.

Unlike the past, the Tibetan Election Commission
this time has decided both the Kalon Tripa and
Parliament elections would take place on the same
day both during their preliminary and final rounds.

The final round of elections will be held next year on March 20.

The election commission has so far not specified
exact date to declare the results of preliminary
polls, but has indicated that it would take up to two months.
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