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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."

Dalai Lama rejects Tibetan PM-in-exile's offer to quit

June 10, 2009

By Vishal Gulati

Dharamsala, June 9 (IANS) The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetan
community, has turned down Samdhong Rinpoche's offer to step down from the
post of prime minister of the government-in-exile, sources here said

"The Rinpoche requested the Dalai Lama to accept his offer to quit office
and initiate the process to elect the next prime minister. However, his
holiness turned down the request on the plea that it would send a wrong
signal to the world community," said a source in the Tibetan

The 70-year-old Rinpoche, the second most powerful leader after the Dalai
Lama in the government-in-exile, was reportedly upset over differences among
the cabinet ministers regarding his decision making powers and ongoing

Sources said the Rinpoche, who was elected prime minister for the second
time in 2006, conveyed his feelings to the Nobel laureate before his visit
to foreign countries early last month.

However, the Rinpoche said: "The move to quit the office was just to provide
an opportunity to any young Tibetan leader to take on responsibly.

"It is wrong to say that I offered to step down due to difference of opinion
(among cabinet colleagues). I wanted to give any young leader a chance to
take charge of the sacrosanct post. I moved the proposal (to advance the
election for the prime minister's office) but it did not get unanimously
approval. So it was dropped," the Rinpoche told IANS.

The government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country in the
world, has eight cabinet ministers.

Sources said the Rinpoche convened a special meeting of his colleagues here
June 7 to convey to them that his proposal to step down was declined by the
Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama has been based in this Himachal Pradesh hill station since
having fled Tibet along with several supporters in 1959. Nearly 100,000
Tibetan exiles live in India.
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