Tibetans finally have a 17th parliament in exile; Khenpo Sonam Tenphel is Speaker, Ms Dolma Tsering Dy Speaker

Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel (left) and Deputy Speaker Dolma Tsering of the 17th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, 8 October 2021. (Photo courtesy: Tenzin Phende/CTA)

(TibetanReview.net, Oct08’21) – Apparently in order to start on a clean slate, all the 45 elected candidates to the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) have taken their oath of office on Oct 8, including the 21 who had actually already taken theirs back on Jun 8. This followed an advisory of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on a request by the elected candidates. The sworn-in members have then elected Khenpo Sonam Tenphel as the Speaker and Ms Dolma Tsering as the Deputy Speaker.

The Dalai Lama’s advisory settled a dispute over the legitimacy of the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission to administer the oath.

After being patently illegally removed en bloc from office by the 16th TPiE on a highly questionable ground in Mar 2021, the three justice commissioners returned to their posts on May 24 to avoid a breakdown in the working of the CTA in accordance with the Charter of Tibetans in Exile (the Charter). However, this was absolutely unacceptable to 22 of the elected candidates who remained steadfast in refusing to take their oath under the Charter. As a result, a functional 17th TPiE could not be constituted until now.

In his advisory, the Dalai Lama expressed disappointment at the turn of events while making it clear that he could not recommend anything which would not be in conformity with the Charter. He therefore asked the elected candidates to take their oath under the Charter and the Tibetan Election Commission to act accordingly.

All the 45 elected candidates then unanimously decided to take their oath under the Charter, as advised by His Holiness.

Longest-serving TPiE member Mr Dawa Tsering then retook his oath of office as the Pro Tem Speaker from the Chief Justice Commissioner Mr Sonam Norbu Dagpo. He then administered oath to all the other 44 elected candidates and swore them in as members of the 17th TPiE.

The members of the 17th TPiE then met to elect their Speaker and Deputy Speaker. Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, a Nyingma constituency member, won 23 votes to become the Speaker.

U-Tsang member Ms Dolma Tsering, who came second with 22 votes, went on to win election as the Deputy Speaker with 23 votes. Ms Lhagyari Namgyal Dolkar came second with 18 votes and there were two invalid votes.

It is understood that the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker will take their oath of office from the Chief Justice Commissioner on Oct 9.


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