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How Tibetans across the world will elect their parliament-in-exile?

Topics Covered: India and its neighbourhood- relations.

How Tibetans across the world will elect their parliament-in-exile?


Over 1.3 lakh Tibetans living in exile and settled across India and other parts of the globe shall be electing their next Parliament-in-Exile in May 2021.

  • The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) has its headquarters in Dharamsala, in the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh.

Tibetans abroad:

Over 1 lakh Tibetans are settled across India, while the remaining are settled in United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, France, Mexico, Mongolia, Germany, United Kingdom, Switzerland and various other countries.

Composition of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE):

The Speaker and a Deputy Speaker head the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile.

The 16th TPiE had 45 members:

  1. 10 representatives from each of the traditional provinces of Tibetan – U-Tsang, Dhotoe and Dhomey;
  2. Two from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion;
  3. Two representing each of the Tibetan Communities in North America and Europe.
  4. One from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).

What does the Tibetan Constitution say?

The Central Tibetan Administration exists and functions on the basis of the Constitution of the Tibetan government called ‘The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile’.

  • In 1991, The Constitution Redrafting Committee instituted by the Dalai Lama prepared the Charter for Tibetans in exile.
  • The Dalai Lama approved it on June 28, 1991.

Who can vote?

Only Tibetans living outside the subcontinent will elect their MPs based on their current geographic location. Besides MPs, voters will make their choice of the President as well.

Election Procedure:

The voting will be held in two rounds.

  1. In the preliminary round, there will be no official candidates, i.e. a voter can choose any person of his choice, which is expected to be one of the several candidates who have started campaigning among the electorate.
  2. Unless a person secures 60 percent of the vote, the two top contenders of the first round will become the official candidates for the second round to be held in April 11.

What is Kashag?

The Kashag (Cabinet) is Central Tibetan Administration’s highest executive office and comprise seven members.

It is headed by the Sikyong (political leader) who is directly elected by the exiled Tibetan population.

  • Sikyong subsequently nominates his seven Kalons (ministers) and seeks the parliament’s approval.
  • The Kashag’s term is for five years.

Is TPiE officially recognised by any country?

Not exactly, it is not recognised officially by any country, including India.

  • But, a number of countries including the United States of America and European nations deal directly with the Sikyong and other Tibetan leaders through various forums.
  • The TPiE claims its democratically-elected character helps it manage Tibetan affairs and raise the Tibetan issue across the world.
  • The incumbent Sikyong, Lobsang Sangay, was among the guests who attended the oath-taking ceremony of prime minister Narendra Modi in May 2014, probably a first.

Sources: Indian Express.