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Elected candidates to 17th Exile Tibetan parliament seek Dalai Lama’s advice on their oath-taking logjam

(TibetanReview.net, Sep30’21) – The Dalai Lama’s position has been that the exile Tibetan leadership should get on with the discharge of their democratic role as if he was no longer present. However, unable to resolve their nearly four-month-old differences over the oath-taking issue after their internal meeting held over Sep 27-29, elected candidates to the 17th Tibetan parliament in Exile have now tossed the ball back at him, asking him to settle the issue.

Earlier, when the meeting ended at 2:30 PM on Sep 29, the meeting’s Chair Khenpo Sonam Tenphel was reported to have told the waiting Tibetan media that he had nothing to tell them in terms of its outcome while promising to get back to them if there was any development on the issue.

According to the Tibetan-language tibettimes.org Sep 30, the participants in the meeting voted on four alternative points, with the decision to be taken by two-thirds majority votes: All the elected candidates should take their oath from the Pro Tem Speaker as provided by Article 47 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile; both the oaths taken under this provision and in another way should be accepted; all the elected candidates should submit their resignation; and a petition should be submitted to His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his advice and guidance.

The first three points have expectedly failed to win the requisite minimum number of votes.

The first two points were, of course, dead on arrival. Besides, the second point, even if adopted, could not have been implemented due to its lack of Charter legitimacy. The third point could have been a way out, but re-election would likely present the same problem.

Anyhow, the meeting was reported to have agreed to invoke Article 1 of the Charter which provides, among other things: “As and when he sees it necessary, or whenever appealed to by the leadership, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is to provide suggestions on opinions of the Kashag or the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile on important matters concerned with the Tibetan people, society, religion and politics.”

There is no functional Tibetan Parliament Exile to be in a position to present such an appeal. And so it has fallen on His Holiness to take suo motu notice of the situation or for the Kashag, currently constituted only by the Sikyong, to form an opinion and submit a petition to His Holiness the Dalai Lama if the elected candidates approach him to do so. It is not clear if the language of the Sep 27-19 decision contains such a provision.

The report, however, suggested that the petition had been submitted already. 

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