(TibetanReview.net, Nov17’20) – The number of Tibetans who have registered to vote for the 2021 parliament in exile and Sikyong elections has fallen well short of that recorded for the elections in 2016. As a result the Tibetan election commission has decided Nov 16 to reopen the registration process for a further period from Dec 23 to 28. Besides, more Tibetans attaining majority age have been given opportunity to register.
A total of 79,697 Tibetans in 26 countries have registered to vote by Oct 15, the last date fixed for this purpose. This is far less than the more than 90,000 who registered to vote for the last elections in 2016.
Those who have registered at the 58 centres this time included 55,683 in India and 24,014 in other countries, mainly in Europe and the USA, Canada, and Australia.
Addressing a press conference in Dharamsala, Chief Election Commissioner Mr Wangdu Tsering Pesur has said the extra window of opportunity to register to vote was made on recommendation from a majority of the local election commissioners at a recent workshop for conducting the two elections.
Those who would reach the age of 18 by Jan 2, 2021 have also been declared eligible to register, extending the previous deadline of Oct 31, 2020.
The preliminary poll for the elections is open, devoid of any official lists of candidates. However, this has not stopped individuals from offering their candidature, of which there are currently eight for the post of Sikyong, the executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration.
There are 45 seats for the parliament election: 10 each for the three traditional provinces of Tibet, two each for the five Buddhist and the Bon religious traditions of Tibet.
There are many provincially mixed families and obviously voters with mixed provincial parentage in the Indian Subcontinent. They have been given the option to choose a provincial affiliation for the purpose of voting in the parliament election.
Only Tibetans living outside the Indian Subcontinent can vote for candidates to represent them on the basis of their current geographical location, for which there are a total of 5 seats.
Monks and nuns are entitled to vote twice: one to represent their religious traditions and the other their traditional provinces.
The preliminary voting meant to determine the lists of candidates for the final poll takes place on Jan 3. And the final poll, with lists of candidates, will take place on Apr 11.
However, in case a person in the candidate-less preliminary poll wins at least 60% of the votes for the Sikyong post, there will be no final poll as he or she will be declared elected.
Otherwise two or three candidates will be listed for the final Sikyong poll, depending on whether or not there will be two candidates getting equal second highest number of votes in the preliminary poll.