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NGOs fail to impress CTA to let oath-challenged elected candidates take their TPiE seats

(TibetanReview.net, Aug19’21) – The four major Tibetan non-governmental groups – the Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC), the Tibetan Women’s Association, the National Democratic Party of Tibet, and Student for a free Tibet-India – have failed to impress the relevant authorities of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to let 22 elected candidates to the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) to take their seats despite refusing to take their oath under the Charter of Tibetans in exile.

The Charter requires that elected candidates take their oath of office from the pro tem Speaker. But the 22 elected candidates refused to do so, saying the pro tem Speaker had been sworn in by the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission. He had been illegally removed from his post by the previous TPiE in Mar 2020 with the other two justice commissioners. However, the justice commissioners resumed their seats later on to avoid a breakdown of the Charter. And the Chief Justice Commissioner went on to administer the oath to the newly elected Sikyong Penpa Tsering as well as 21 members of the 17th TPiE. However, 22 elected candidates refused to be sworn in by pro tem speaker, calling his swearing in by the Chief Justice Commissioner, and the latter’s resumption of post illegal.

But by claiming to have taken their oath before a portrait of HH the Dalai Lama and a copy of the Charter, they demand to be made members of the 17th TPiE. As CTA functionaries were bound to uphold the Charter and act under its mandates, there was no way they could accept any demand to ignore the Charter and let them take their TPiE seats.

Accordingly, speaking on behalf of the four NGOs, TYC President Gonpo Dhondup has told a press briefing Aug 18 that their efforts, which began last month, turned out to be futile and they will cease all works to carry it any further.

The NGOs have refused to divulge any details about the responses they had received in their discussions with the newly elected candidates to the 17th TPiE, the Kashag Secretariat and the Election Commission.

The CTA cannot afford to remain without ministers to head its various departments or without a parliament to sanction its annual budgets and to vote on numerous other matters any much longer. The Chief Election Commission has already made it clear that he will be compelled to act if members continue to refuse to take their oath of office as provided by the Charter.

His moves could include inviting candidates who failed to make it but had won the required minimum numbers of votes to take the oath in place of the oath-disqualified elected candidates or otherwise to announce a by-election.

Although the Charter is silent on how long the CTA could remain without a TPiE, it would certainly seem reasonable not to let this situation remain beyond the time for holding its first session which is due next month. In any case the CTA will certainly need a parliament in place by Mar 2022 to approve its annual budget.

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