Dharamshala: Tibetans attired in colourful dresses on Sunday (20.3.2016) voted to elect a new Prime Minister and lawmakers, who will go onto form a Government in Exile to keep legacy of the Tibetan issue alive as His Holiness The Dalai Lama recedes from heading the political movement against Chinese occupation of their homeland.
In the electoral din are 94 candidates in the fray to get elected to the 45 member Tibetan Parliament in Exile who have spent large amounts of money and showered their opponents with many accusations, provoking Samdhong Rinpoche, a former Tibetan Prime Minister, to not cast his vote in protest.
Rimpoche expressed his annoyance with the election process of taking the Western style of campaigning and spending of large amount of money on it by saying, “these elections are not being fought on Tibetan ethics.”
About 90,000 registered voters were expected to participate in the voting.
The voters are to elect a Tibetan PM called Sikyong of the 15th Kashag (Cabinet) and 45 members of the 16th Tibetan Parliament.
The two Sikyong candidates, incumbent Lobsang Sangay and rival Penpa Tsering, who are in the fray earlier held 3 face to face American style debates, where they outlined their agenda and defended the stance they would take up in trying to settle the Tibetan issue with China.
For the 45 seat Tibetan Parliament, there are 81 candidates from India, Nepal and Bhutan, 4 from Europe, 6 from USA and 3 from Australia and rest of Asia.
In all 9 polling station were set up in Dharamshala and McLeodGanj for casting of the votes. Besides votes were to be cast in 85 other places around the world, which included 46 in India, Nepal and Bhutan.
In a preliminary voting around held in October last year, as many as 47,105 exiled Tibetans cast their votes.
Final vote count is scheduled to be declared on 27th April.
The China Government does not recognize the Tibetan Government in Exile.
Arvind Sharma is an award winning bi-lingual journalist with more than 20 years of experience.
He has worked with Divya Himachal, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhasker, Vir Partap, Ajit and PTI.
In 2010, he was conferred the Himachal Kesri journalism award. He reports on the Tibetan Government in Exile, politics, sports, tourism and other topics. He lives in Dharamshala.