(TibetanReview.net, Aug03’20) – The process for the election of the Sikyong and the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile in 2021 was launched on Aug 3 with the newly nominated Additional Election Commissioners Geshema Delek Wangmo and Mr Sonam Gyaltsen being sworn in by Chief Justice Commissioner Mr Sonam Norbu Dagpo at a ceremony in the Sikyong auditorium of the Central Tibetan Administration, Dharamsala.
Geshema Delek Wangmo is a teacher at the Dolma Ling Nunnery and Institute at Sidhpur while Mr Sonam Gyaltsen, a former exile parliament member, is a senior Professor at the College for Higher Tibetan Studies at Sarah, both near Dharamsala.
Earlier, the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on Jul 28 elected the two from a list of four nominees finalized by a committee of three. They will hold this post for the duration of the two elections.
In view of the Covid-19 situation and restrictions in the numerous countries in which exile Tibetans live, it is not clear how the election process will unfold and proceed.
Tibetan elections are held at two stages, with the preliminary poll being devoid of any official lists of candidates. This leaves many voters for the parliament seats scratching their heads in a struggle to come up with a list of 10 candidates that should include at least two women.
Candidates for the final poll will be those getting the highest number of votes in the preliminary poll, with the additions of others volunteering to stand for the elections by making security deposits and fulfilling other formalities.
The term of the current Sikyong, the executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration, will end in May.
The sikyong’s post is limited to two terms while there is no limit to the parliament membership.
The parliament has a strength of 45, made up of 10 from each of the three traditional provinces of Tibet, two from each of the five major religious traditions of Tibet, besides two from Europe, two from the Americas, and one from Australasia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).