Tibetans in exile vote in India for their political leader | India News
Lobsang Sangay, Chairman of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), casts his vote for the first phase of the global elections for Sikyong and members of the XVII Tibetan Parliament, in Dharamsala (PTI)
DHARAMSALA: Hundreds of Tibetans in exile braved the rain and cold Sunday in Dharamsala, where the exiled government is based, and voted for their new political leader as the current official’s five-year term draws to a close. Voters wore masks, maintained social distance, and used hand sanitizer while voting during the first round of the election. Many helped older voters fill out the correct forms.
In this first phase of voting, two candidates for the highest office of Prime Minister will be shortlisted, including 90 parliamentarians. The second and final round of voting will take place in April.
“With this we are sending a clear message to Beijing that Tibet is under occupation, but the Tibetans in exile are free. And given a chance, we prefer democracy,” said Lobsang Sangay, who will soon finish his second y last term. as a Tibetan political leader. “No matter what you do, the pride of the Tibetans, the meaning of the Tibetans, is to be democratic and to practice democracy.”
Formed in 1959, the government-in-exile in Tibet, now called the Central Tibetan Administration, has executive, judicial and legislative powers, with candidates for the office of sikyong, or president, elected since 2011 by popular vote.
China says Tibet has historically been part of its territory since the mid-13th century, and its Communist Party has ruled the Himalayan region since 1951. But many Tibetans say they were effectively independent for most of their history, and that the Chinese government wants to exploit its resource-rich region while crushing its cultural identity.
The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of the Tibetans, and his followers have been living in Dharamsala since they fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against the Chinese government.
Many young Tibetans are participating in this year’s parliamentary elections. As the Dalai Lama ages, young Tibetans are increasingly realizing that they should be more involved in government. “As someone who has studied technology, I think I can try to make parliamentary communications more secure and fill in the gaps in the information database,” said Lobsang Sither, 48, who is contesting the current elections. Sither said that previous governments have focused mainly on the Tibetan diaspora and not enough on the Tibetans within Tibet. “That has to change. Unless we have reliable information about the situation inside Tibet, we cannot formulate policies to help Tibetans there,” Sither said.
China does not recognize the Tibetan government in exile and has not had any dialogue with representatives of the Dalai Lama since 2010. Some Tibetan groups advocate the independence of Tibet, as little progress has been made in dialogue with China.