(TibetanReview.net, May27’21) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, on May 27 thanked outgoing Sikyong Lobsang Sangay and greeted the new Sikyong Penpa Tsering as the latter took his oath of office in his online presence in a ceremony with limited invitees due to the Coronavirus restrictions. The oath was administered by the Chief Justice Commissioner Sonam Norbu Dagpo of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC).
The transition was marked by Dr Lobsang Sangay handing over the Katham Sishi Dekyi official seal of authority to Sikyong Penpa Tsering.
The Sikyong is the executive head of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and political leader of the Tibetan people.
In his acceptance speech Sikyong Penpa Tsering reiterated his commitment to direct all his energy to finding a lasting solution to the Sino-Tibet conflict and looking after the welfare of the Tibetan people.
He called seeking relief against the critical challenges being faced by endangered Tibet and the suffering of the Tibetan people the main responsibility of the Kashag (cabinet).
He also said the first job of the executive organ of the CTA being headed by him was to make clear to all the ministers and officials that “we are here to serve the people and they will be directed not to deviate from this primary objective.”
Conspicuously absent from the oath-taking ceremony was the Deputy Speaker Acharya Phuntsok of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE). This was said to have followed a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile during which Acharya Phuntsok resigned as Deputy Speaker in order to avoid attending the event. Three members, namely members Dhondup Tashi (Amdo), Gangri (Amdo) and Tenzin Jamyang (U-Tsang) were stated to have resigned in protest against that decision. In addition, Standing Committee members Serta Tsultrim (Dotoe), Monlam Tharchin (Bonpo) and Tenpa Yarphel (Kagyu) also resigned as Standing Committee member by claiming the absence of both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker had rendered the committee infructuous.
The reason for Acharya Phuntsok, Serta Tsultrim, Monlam Tharchin and Tenpa Yarphel’s effective boycott of the event was seen as an expression of their protest against the oath being administered by the Chief Justice Commissioner who resumed his office on May 24 with the other two justice commissioners, all of whom the TPiE Standing Committee had sought to remove from office by a blatantly illegal move on Mar 25. The Mar 25 resolution of the TPiE was greeted with consternation, protests, and appeals from a wide section of the Tibetan public, which led to some of the TPiE members acknowledging their mistake.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from numerous more countries including Canada, the UK, Australia, the Baltic States, Chile, France as well as from the European parliament have congratulated Penpa Tsering ahead of or on his assumption of office. They included the Tibet Interest Group in the European Parliament, the Inter Parliamentary Group Italy–Tibet, the All Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet (UK), Tibet Support Groups in the parliaments of Baltic States, The Australian All-Party Parliamentary Group for Tibet, the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (Canada), as well as groups and individuals in the parliaments of the as well as the Chilean MP Vlado Mirosevic Vergudo and French Senator André Gattolin, the Vice-chair of the international study group on Tibet at the French Senate and Co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentarian Alliance on China (IPAC).
Martin Bursik, former Czech Deputy Prime Minister and former Environment Minister and current president of the Czechs Support Tibet is the latest to offer his congratulations as we report online.