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Two replacement members installed in exile Tibetan parliament ahead of May special meet

(TibetanReview.net, Apr14’21) – As counting of votes in the Sikyong and the 17th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) elections continues, with the official results expected to be announced on or after May 14, the Tibetan Election Commission has appointed two new members to the outgoing, 16th parliament to make up for two members who had resigned on Apr 8.

The two new members, Tibetan medicine doctor Mr Qusar Namgyal and Geshe Ngawa Gangri, took their oath of office before Deputy Speaker of the parliament, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, this morning.

They were the candidates who had won the most number of votes from their respective provinces of U-Tsang and Amdo in the last poll held in 2016 after the 10 winning candidates in each case.

Although no regular session of the 16th parliament is due before the next one comes in, an important special session is expected to be held in May to address the fallout from the parliament’s March session’s highly controversial decision to remove the entire panel of justice commissioners of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission (TSJC). 

The move is seen by many to be patently unconstitutional, procedurally flawed, an act of violence against the plain reading of the relevant provisions of the Charter, and as an act of payback by a section of members of the TPiE for certain decisions of the TSJC.

Mr Qusar Namgyal has replaced Speaker Pema Jungney who resigned in protest over former Speaker and later the Central Tibetan Administration’s first directly elected executive head (Kalon Tripa) Professor Samdhong Rinpoche’s remarks over the dismissal of the justice commissioners of the TSJC. He was a key player in the drafting of the Charter.

Professor Samdhong Rinpoche had pointed out in his Oslo-based Voice of Tibet radio broadcast service interview on Apr 8 morning that the procedure of a report by a committee required to be constituted as prescribed by the Charter for removing” any” justice commissioner of the TSJC had not been followed.

He also said rules of procedure to make a move to remove “any” such justice commissioner required under the Charter to be framed by the TPiE had not been carried out.

Besides, he said the Charter did not visualize a situation in which the entire panel of justice commissioners of the TSJC would be removed as this would lead to a breakdown of the Charter.

Geshe Ngawa Gangri takes the place of Mr Lobsang Choejor who resigned after admitting his “honest” mistake and owning moral responsibility for his role in the sacking episode of March, citing the clarifications from Professor Samdhong Rinpoche.

Professor Samdhong Rinpoche said in the interview that he felt constrained to explain since his name was cited by those who carried out the dismissal of the justice commissioners to justify their move. Mr Pema Jungney, who led the ouster of the justice commissioners on behalf of the 11-member Standing Committee of the TPiE, has denied any wrongdoing while tendering his resignation.

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