Lobsang Sangay was confirmed as the new Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan Government in Exile, on 27 April, heralding a new era in Tibetan politics. China subsequently described the exiled government as "illegal". Since the announcement of the election results Lobsang Sangay has been giving interviews to the media, regarding his appointment and reflecting on the Dalai Lama's announcement to retire from political life.
Interviews with Lobsang Sangay
[24 May] Lobsang Sangay has been giving interviews to the media regarding his new role as Kalon Tripa and the changing face of Tibetan exiled politics given the Dalai Lama's recent announcement to retire from political life.
23 May: Interview on BBC Hardtalk (23 mins) I Video highlights (3 mins)
22 May: Interview on New Delhi Television (6 mins)
China denounces Tibetan Government in Exile as "illegal"
[April 28] China has dismissed the Kalon Tripa election, calling the Tibetan Government in Exile "illegal". In response to a question at a press conference about the election a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said, "The so-called Tibet government-in-exile is an illegal political organisation set up overseas by the Dalai Lama to engage in Tibet independence activities."
Reuters: China brushes off election of new exiled Tibet PM (28 April)
Lobsang Sangay announced as new Kalon Tripa
[27 April] Lobsang Sangay has been confirmed as the new Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan Government in Exile, heralding a new era in Tibetan politics. The results were given in a live broadcast in Dharmsala, with Election Commissioner Jampal Chosang announcing that Lobsang Sangay polled 55 per cent votes out of 49,189, defeating his nearest rival Tethong Tenzin Namgyal by 8,646 votes.
In his victory statement on Wednesday, Lobsang Sangay (pictured above) said, "I view my election as an affirmation of the far-sighted policies of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and another important step towards the realization of his vision of a truly democratic Tibetan society...I urge every Tibetan and friend of Tibet to join me in our common cause to alleviate the suffering of Tibetans in occupied Tibet and to return His Holiness to his rightful place," he said.
Lobsang Sangay said he will support the Dalai Lama's Middle Way approach, "What His Holiness stands for is the 'Middle Way', which is genuine autonomy within China or within the framework of the Chinese constitution. If Tibetans are granted genuine autonomy then his Holiness the Dalai Lama said he is willing to accept Tibet as part of China."
With regard to the current situation in Tibet, Lobsang Sangay commented, "As long as this repression continues, there will be resistance from Tibetan people," says Mr Sangay. "That is why the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government are saying we ought to have a peaceful dialogue [with China], to resolve this issue as soon as possible."
Tsering Passang, a London-based Tibetan said, "I send my sincere congratulations to Dr Lobsang Sangay, who has been given a clear mandate by the Tibetan people as the next Political Leader of Tibet. We should now stand united and support the Kalon Tripa-elect over the next five years and work towards the bigger goal of regaining our freedom from the Chinese occupation of Tibet whilst improving the lives of our people."
Mr Passang went on to add, "Huge challenges lay ahead for Dr Sangay, once he enters the Office of Kalon Tripa formally in August. Now that the election campaign is over, it is time to deliver the public services that the Kalon Tripa-elect has promised for the Tibetan people."
The full results for the new Tibetan Parliament in exile were also announced. Europe has two new Tibetan MPs: Chungdak Koren who is based in Norway and Thupten Wangchen who lives in Spain.
The Economist: "No way, Sangay" (17 May) Analysis of the changing politics of the Tibetan exiled government.
BBC: Profile of Lobsang Sangay (28 April)
CTA: Tibetans Elect Dr Lobsang Sangay as Kalon Tripa (27 April)
Central Tibetan Administration: Full election results (27 April)
Media reports on Kalon Tripa election result
Reuters I BBC I Guardian I Telegraph I NY Times I Phayul
BBC: Lobsang Sangay interviewed on BBC World Service Newshour (27 April)
Note the interview starts 44 minutes into the programme. Approx. 4 mins in length.
Tibet Society: Securing Tibetan people’s interests: The Dalai Lama knows best (26 April) An opinion by Tsering Passang, a London-based Tibetan, on the significance of the Kalon Tripa election and the Dalai Lama's announced retirement from political life.
BBC: Interview about the forthcoming elections with London-based Tibetans Tsering Passang and Tsering Topgyal and Stephanie Brigden of Free Tibet. (23 March)
Tibetans vote for new Kalon Tripa
[23 March] Tens of thousands of Tibetan exiles around the world turned out on 20 March to vote for a new Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) and for members of the Tibetan Parliament in exile. Voter turnout is expected to be higher than the 61% for the preliminary elections held in October. The election results will be announced by the end of April.
Initial indications are that there was a higher turnout than in the previous election (2006), when the turnout was about 50%. Approximately 83,000 Tibetans were registered to vote in this year’s election. The expected increased turnout is due to the high profile campaigns for the role of Kalon Tripa, who is likely to have a greater political role following the Dalai Lama’s recent announcement to stand down from political life. The three candidates vying for the role of Kalon Tripa are Lobsang Sangay, Tenzin Tethong, and Tashi Wangdi.
The elections were praised by an independent observation team commissioned by the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT). In its initial report INPaT said, “The Tibetan example of the development of democratic institutions and systems are a model for nascent democracies around the world and we encourage the international community to assist the Tibetan institutions in exile to continue to evolve and improve on their success.” INPaT also criticised the Nepalese government for forbidding Tibetans living in Nepal to partake in the election.
Vice-President of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott, who is also the MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber and a member of INPaT, said of the elections, “This benchmark of fairness and transparency is a model for a future democratic China.”
Prior to end of its current session, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile began to discuss amending the constitution, The Charter of the Tibetans in Exile, in order to redistribute executive powers, following the Dalai Lama’s announcement on 10 March to retire from politics.
CTA: MEPs laud the Tibetan elections (23 March)
Reuters: Tibet parliament prepares for Dalai Lama retirement (21 March)
Phayul: International group impressed by Tibetan democracy (21 March)
Phayul: Tibetan exiles vote for new leaders (20 March)
Reuters: Exiled Tibetans face vote, and risky new world (16 March)
Tibet Society: Dalai Lama to step back from political duties (10 March)
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