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Success of "middle way approach" a priority, says Tibet's political leader

May 2, 2016

By Geeta Anand and Tenzin Tsering

New York Times, April 27, 2016 - The current political leader of Tibet’s’s exiled government, Lobsang Sangay, won re-election by a decisive majority, the election commission announced Wednesday, and he pledged to push harder for a dialogue with China to resolve the future of Tibet.

“My principal objective will be to resolve the issue of Tibet through the middle way approach,” Mr. Sangay said in a telephone interview.

The “middle way” approach was set in motion by the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people, nearly 30 years ago, in which he softened his demand for independence for the approximately six million Tibetans living in China, instead seeking self-government for them within China.

The Dalai Lama, 80, gave up his political role five years ago in favor of elections to choose a sikyong, a role similar to prime minister. Mr. Sangay was chosen in the first election in 2011.

Both candidates for the sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration, as the exiled government is known, favored the middle way approach, even though a vocal minority believe in fighting for full independence for Tibet. Mr. Sangay, 48, won 33,876 votes, while Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the exiled Parliament, secured 24,846 votes, Sonam Choephel Shosur, the election commissioner, said at a news conference.

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