Dharamsala – A delegation of Parliamentarians and former MPs arrived today in Dharamshala, India, to observe the Tibetan elections in exile, which will take place on Sunday March 20.
Tibetans in exile (around 150,000 living in over 30 countries) elect every five years both the political leader of the Central Tibetan Administration (Sikyong) and the Members of the Parliament in exile (45 seats) in two rounds. The preliminary elections took place on October 18, 2015. For the position of Sikyong two candidates will be competing this year, the incumbent Lobsang Sangay and the Speaker of the Parliament Penpa Tsering, while for the Parliament in exile 94 candidates are competing.
The 2016 Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) is an initiative by the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet coordinated by the International Campaign for Tibet and its goals are to support the democratic process chosen by Tibetans in exile to represent the aspirations of the Tibetan people. In 2011, the Dalai Lama decided to devolve his political authority to an elected leadership and subsequently amendments to the Tibetan Charter were made.
The international delegation is composed of the following members: Hon. Thomas Mann, Member of the European Parliament and Chair of the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet, Hon. Andre’ Gattolin, Senator (France), Hon. Lisa Singh, Senator (Australia), Hon. Consiglio di Nino, former Senator, Chair of Canada Tibet Committee (Canada), Hon. Norman Baker, former MP, President of UK Tibet Society (UK), Hon. Matteo Mecacci, former MP, President of the International Campaign for Tibet (Italy), Ms. Zsuzsa Anna, Assistant to Laszlo Tokes Member of the European Parliament (Hungary), Mr. Bhuchung Tsering, Vice President of the International Campaign for Tibet.
On March 19, the delegation will have briefings in Dharamsala with representatives of the Central Tibetan Administration, the Central Election Commission and NGOs and on March 20 will observe the voting process both in Dharamsala and Bir. After the elections the delegation will prepare a final report that would include recommendations based on agreed international standards of democracy.
On March 21 at 11.00, representatives of the Tibetan Election Observation Mission delegation will have a press conference to issue a statement on the elections in Dharamshala at the Department of Information and International Relations.