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Amending charter for individual undemocratic, says Kalon Tripa

June 22, 2009

By Kalsang Rinchen

Phayul

Sunday, June 21, 2009

 

Dharamsala, – “I am also a citizen of Tibet, and I too have some individual rights”, said Prof Samdhong Rinpoche, the Kalon Tripa of the exile Tibetan government. The former academician who is serving his second consecutive term as the Kalon Tripa was speaking alongside Penpa Tsering, the speaker of the Tibetan parliament in exile at a panel discussion yesterday. Rinpoche was responding negatively to requests from some members of the audience who were in support for an amendment in the Tibetan charter that allows only two consecutive terms for a Kalon Tripa.

 

Organized by Guchusum former political prisoners’ movement, Tibetan Women’s Association, Students for a Free Tibet, and phayul.com, the public event was aimed at creating awareness among Tibetan youngsters about the importance of the Kalon Tripa’s election due in 2011.

 

The speaker of the Tibetan parliament expressed his dismay at the voter turnout during elections in the Tibetan community. He said that more participation is required in the elections, especially from younger generation. He said that his office had received several letters which expressed a need for an amendment in the Tibetan charter in the parliament to have the incumbent Kalon Tripa serve another term. “We are representatives of the people, and it is our duty to present the public opinion in the parliament.”

 

However, the Kalon Tripa expressed his opposition to such an amendment saying it would be 'undemocratic and irresponsible'. “Amending the charter for an individual is undemocratic. An amendment to the charter is valid if it is not done for any individual. We would be pushing ourselves into the seventh century if such an amendment is done.”

 

Asked if the next Kalon Tripa with independence for Tibet as his stand could affect the current government policy of genuine autonomy, prof. Samdhong Rinpoche said the office of Kalon Tripa is not a “free style” one, and that the Kalon Tripa has to work under certain framework which includes accountability to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the parliament, etc. However, Rinpoche said that if the next Kalon Tripa is able to win the majority’s opinion in his favor, and secures their mandate regarding the future of Tibet then the government policy would have to change.

 

The organizers, in their effort to create awareness about the Kalon Tripa’s elections, will distribute the video of the event for free.

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