Thursday, April 28, 2011

Lobsang Sangay, prime minister of Tibet

Lobsang Sangay, a 43-year-old teacher at the American University of Harvard, was elected prime minister of the Tibetans in exile, with 55% of the nearly 49,200 votes cast (outside the country some 140,000 currently reside Tibetans .) "It's the best result ever achieved by a prime minister," said the head of the Electoral Commission, Jampal Chosang.

Sangay handled the difficult task of becoming the political leader of Tibet, which for decades has portrayed the Dalai Lama, to fight for greater autonomy under Chinese occupation. The Dalai Lama opened goodbye of an electoral process that culminated on Wednesday to elect their "Kalon Tripa" or prime minister, a position that choose three candidates.

The Tibetan community in exile chose between Kasur Tashi Wangdi candidates (representative of the Dalai Lama in Brussels), Lobsang Sangay, or Tenzin Tethong. These last two U.S. academics. Tenzing Tethong, former representative of the Dalai Lama in New York and Washington, won 37.4% of the votes cast, while Tashi Wangdi, who had half a dozen ministerial portfolios in the government in exile in recent years has gained only 6.4% of the vote.

Several Indian and international media have said that Sangay assume at least some of the functions hitherto exercised by the Dalai Lama, although the process is still pending the decision of Parliament and, where appropriate, reforming its Constitution. The new 'Kalon Tripa', who has never lived on their land, will be sworn in after 15 August, once the current mandate of the Prime Minister Professor Samdhong Rinpoche.

Like the Dalai Lama, Sangay not demand an independent Tibet: complies with the Chinese authorities accept religious freedom and respect for human rights. In the elections held on March 20, voters also elected 43 members to form the new Parliament in exile. Thubten Wangchen, director of the Casa del Tibet de Barcelona, is one of the two seats allocated to Europe.

The Dalai Lama, 75, announced in March his intention to leave his political duties, while continuing his role as spiritual leader. The Tibetan government in exile is not recognized by any country in the world.

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