(TibetanReview.net, Jan03’21) – Voting for the preliminary poll in the exile Tibetan general election held on Jan 3 reflected extraordinary level of participation, most notably among the younger generation of Tibetans, said the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) on its Tibet.net website Jan 3. There are no immediate reports yet on the exact level of participation or any allegation of misconduct.
The elections are held for the post of Sikyong, the executive head of the CTA, and the 45-member 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile.
The preliminary poll was held without any official lists of candidates, making voting a daunting task. Voters not only had to know the names of the people they wished to see elected but also their ancestral place of origin, current residence and current or former occupation or post so as to ensure no mistake in identifying them.
Although the election rules do not provide for it – but also do not specifically ban it – many people came forward to offer their candidature voluntarily. Their campaigns in the supposedly campaign-free election enabled many voters to decide whom they would like to see elected.
For the parliament in exile seats, Tibetans living in the Indian subcontinent had to vote on the basis of their origin in Tibet’s three traditional provinces for 10 seats each.
The Four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Tibetan religion Bon have two seats each.
In addition, the monastic community can also vote for the provincial seats, thereby entitling them to vote for both provincial and religious seats in the parliament.
Although nearly 50 per cent of Tibetans now live outside the Indian subcontinent, they can vote for just five seats, allocated two each for Europe and the Americas and one for Australasia. However, they vote not for traditional Tibetan provincial seats but for representatives of their current continents of residence.
The preliminary poll is meant to enable the election commission to shortlist lists of candidates for the Sikyong and parliament seats on the basis of the number of votes won by them.
However, if a person gets more than 60 percent of the votes for the Sikyong post in the preliminary poll, he or she will be declared elected.
Otherwise the final poll for both the Skyong post – with two shortlisted candidates – and the parliament seats will be held on Apr 11.
The current Sikyong cannot be re-elected as he has already been elected for two successive terms.