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Next Prime Minister For Tibet: 2011 Elections

May 30, 2009

Renaissance Tibet Blog
May 24, 2009

50 years have passed since Tibetans have been
driven out of their own land and 50 years have
passed since they have established a life in
exile. The current geopolitics of the world
clearly show that it will probably be another 50
years or more before they could actually hope to
leave this perceived makeshift place of refuge in India.

Over the years, His Holiness the Dalai lama has
marvelously shouldered the responsibility of a
whole nation. Not only did he sustain and
strengthen the cause of a nation, but has also
been instrumental in establishing and steering
the future course of Tibet in a proper
direction.His dedication and efforts in keeping
alive the cause of Tibet and its people needs no
questioning and will always remain above par.
However, we must not forget that all his efforts
whether its establishing a working government in
exile, a template of democratic parliament and
the election of a Prime Minister by direct vote
of Tibetans in exile has been directed at one
supreme goal, and that goal is making the Tibetan
Movement "A movement of common Tibetans" and not just an individual.

What becomes essential now, is not only to
acknowledge this goal of His Holiness but to
actually work towards fulfilling his wishes.

The Kalon Tripa(Prime Minister) elections of 2011
is one such duty, that we need to complete with full responsibility.

This election should not just end up being about
electing an administrator to run the day to day
activities of the exile government, but should be
more about electing a persona who will not only
share and shoulder the responsibilites of His
Holiness, but who is also able to steer the
course of future Tibet on his own too.

What After The Dalai Lama?

Personally, it is my opinion that the election of
Kalon Tripa 2011 should also become a center
point of discussion about a Tibet strategy post the Dalai Lama.

The new Kalon Tripa's responsibilities should not
just end at overlooking the exile administration.
It has to be made sure that whoever is elected as
the next Kalon Tripa has the vision as well as
the ability to represent the cause of Tibet at the global stage.

What should ideally happen this time, should be
the election of a Prime Minister who is able to
come out of the shadow of His Holiness. A person
who is able to take charge in the absence of The
Dalai lama. A prime minister who is endorsed with
full vigour and backed with enthusiasm by even
His Holiness. Only then, can a new face for the cause of Tibet become tangible.

Breaking the Cycle; A global face:

An amalgam of religion and politics is supposed
to form the core ideology behind the Tibetan form
of governance. Has it been useful for the cause
of Tibet? Yes. Has it been able to realise a
solution for the issue of Tibet? No.

Therefore, in times of such rapid globalisation
and intertwined structure of geopolitics,
Tibetans need more than a religious figure
balancing religion and politics. What is need of
the hour is a face and a mind that will make the
issue of Tibet relevant in the coming years? We
don't know how exactly the impending economic
crisis will shape the future of the world. Many
say, China will emerge far stronger and
influential through this current crisis.

If that were to be true then what strategy do
Tibetans have, to tackle such an imminent
scenario. A shift in the world view, that the
cause of Tibet is more about millions of Tibetans
inside and outside Tibet, rather than just about
Buddhism or Peace is the need of the hour.

Now a common Tibetan, with a modern face, backed
and guided by His Holiness, and elected by
Tibetan people will surely be able to infuse, a
new flow of energy into the whole course of
finding a plausible solution for Tibet. Thus, it
is most essential that this time around we bring
a new face, with a new vision, and an
understanding of the realities of today's world
at the forefront of running our struggle.

Role of Youth:

This is undenying that the role of youth, like
any other country or society, is also of great
significance for the future of Tibet.

Therefore, unlike previous occasions when we had
fewer choices of leaders to choose, this time
around, i believe there will be more names on the
nomination list. Thus, it becomes far more
important for all youths alike to take an
interest and express our mandate in the most
lucid manner by casting our ballot for the right candidate.

The American presidential elections saw a surge
in participation, when it came to youths ballot
this time around. This in many way paved the way
for the election of a younger and more dynamic
leader for the whole American nation.

It is imperative for the Tibetan youths too, to
understand the need for a younger,modern and a
dyanamic face for the Tibetan cause than ever before.

We must turn out in good numbers this time around
and prevent any conservative and leftist voices
in our society to come at the top.

Hearsay(a rumour), that I feel should not materialise:

I have been hearing about talks in a few quarters
of the Tibetan assembly members that many are
looking for a possibility of an ammendment in the
Tibetan charter,so that Prof.Samdhong Rinpoche is
able to run for a third term at the office.

If this is true, then such an events will be
totally against the wishes of His Holiness, who
more than once has indicated that a new and young
leadership at helm is what we need right now.

I would even go at lengths to compare it with the
referendum that Hugo Chavez(president of
Venezuela) conducted so that he could run for
another term. The difference would be that , such
an action would be initiated by the elected
representatives at the Tibetan assembly and not
Samdhong Rinpoche. Thus, taking us a step back in
our movement, no matter what excuse they have on their platters.

A Few Tips To The Tibetan Election Commission:

The coming elections for the Kalon Tripa is
significant to an extent that none of us could
even think of ignoring the far reaching
implications it could bring for Tibetans in exile.

Therefore, the need for an overwhelming number of
votes cast is paramount. It is most important
that the Tibetans, young and old, express their
mandate in an overwhelming manner.

My request to the election commission this time
would be to increase the number of polling
stations. Especially, as a youth, it is essential
that there are polling stations at every major
cities where considerable number of Tibetan
students reside. And by considerable as per the
standards of Tibetan population, I would say even
50 students is quite considerable.

So, whatever are the rules governing the
allotment of polling stations. I hope that this
time time around there are more places for a
young Tibetan to establish his mandate by voting,
who otherwise studying at a college, or working
at a city, with constraints of time and reach
ability, has been on many occasions deprived of
access to a nearby polling station.

A change in the ATPD structure and ATPD elections:

A serious and drastic change is required in the
way our assembly member are elected. Based on a
regional electoral system initially formulated to
represent the integrity of Tibet, in its three
provinces and five religious sects, the current
electoral system has run out of its relevance in
the context of current challenges facing the
exile society as well as the present realities of Tibet under china.

Such a system must now either give way to or
accomodate, a more constituency based electoral
system where popularity of candidates play a
bigger role than technicalities of the current
regional based( meaning regions in Tibet) electoral system.

My suggestion would be to start have two houses
in the Tibetan ATPD. One that is based on the
current electoral system responsible for matters
related with national politics, foreign affairs etc.

And another house that solely focuses on the
challenges of exile society. Whether its
education, health, settlements, employment etc.
only leaders from various regions in India where
exile communities reside will be in a position to
understand and tackle these problems effectively.

Currently there are over 10 ATPD members who
stand for elections under the current electoral
system. And all of these members permanent
residence is in Dharamsala. That is almost 20% of
ATPD member are from Dharamsala, while the
Tibetan population here might even not be 5% of
the exile diaspora. Such unbalanced and obsolete
design of electoral system must be either
abandoned or changed, so that newer challenges
are dealt in a more effective manner.

Efficient, effective and evolutionary governance of the exile set up:

It is most critical that the current set up of
Tibetan refugees in exile, established after much
hardships of the Dalai lama, is maintained and flourished.

The new Kalon Tripa(Prime Minister) must be in
touch with today's realities and have the
knowledge and the understanding of the modern
concepts and breakthoroughs in the science of
governance. He should also be aware of the social
challenges and problems the community in exile faces.

Whether its education, Health, Planning and
International relations, a person who could
understand the intricasies and the technicalities
of all these aspects, in a modern, up to date and
current context of globalisation should be at the
helm of leading the Tibetan government in exile.

Traditional thinking and concepts of development
must assist the flow of any new strategy of
governance, but mostly should remain at the backseat.

Possible nominees for Kalon Tripa 2011:

Lobsang Sangay, Lobsang Nyendak, Tashi Wangdu and
Tenzin Namgyal are a few names being thrown here
and there these days for nomination to Kalong
Tripa 2011 elections. I will be posting their brief biographies soon.

My choice:

I will be nominating Dr.Lobsang Sangay for Kalon
Tripa 2011. I have my reasons, that I will
express in my coming posts on this blog. Till
then, rise up, its time we do something.
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