Tibetans in India give 2nd term to Lobsang Sangey

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama with a devotee as he arrives on convocation function of a college in Dharamsala. Photo-PTI

Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama with a devotee as he arrives on convocation function of a college in Dharamsala.

Tibetans in exile have re-elected a Harvard-educated lawyer Lobsang Sangey as their head to spearhead a campaign to press China to grant Tibet autonomy.

The 48 years old got his second term after defeating his only rival Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament Pempa Tsering by 9,012 votes in the election.

Sangay will head the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) for five years. No country recognises the body, and China has declined to talk to it.

“Sangey polled 33,876 votes, while Tsering secured 24,864 votes. There were 90,377 registered voters for the elections, of which 59,353 exercised their franchise. The names of all the 45 elected members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile have also been declared today along with the declaration of the PM’s result,” Said Sonam Chhopel, Chief Election Commissioner of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

He said the election to the post of PM started on October 18 last year with five candidates in the initial stage.

“At last, two candidates survived in this five-stage election to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. The other three candidates were rejected by the voters in the first stage only,” Chhopel said.

He said the last stage of the election was conducted on March 20. The last stage counting of the votes were conducted from April 20-22, 2016 at Dharamsala by an eight-member standing committee headed by the CEC.

The 2016 general election were the second direct elections for electing the Tibetan leadership since the retirement of the Dalai Lama from politics in 2011 when Sangey took charge as his political successor.

Lobsang Sangay has been leading the 150,000-odd Tibetan diaspora since 2011. He was given the responsibility of leading Tibetan Diaspora after Dalai Lama gave up political power.

“I voted for him because of his educated background,” said Choezin, a 53-year-old crimson-robed monk who fled Tibet in 1985 to settle in Dharamsala, the exiled government’s base.

Sangay faces criticism for not making any headway in convincing the Chinese to talk.

Formal negotiations between China and the Dalai Lama’s representatives broke down in 2010, and the stalemate since has cast a pall over Tibetans in exile.

The Dalai Lama, 81, has sought to build a democratic system of government for exiled Tibetans strong enough to hold the community together and negotiate with China after his death.