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Election 2011: Aspirant Tibetan MPs debate at youth group event

October 4, 2010

By Tenzin Tsering
October 1, 2010

Dharamsala, Oct. 1 -- With just three days to go
for the preliminary rounds of the election for
Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) and the Tibetan
parliament a group of young Tibetans hoping for a
better democracy held a debate “The Member of
Parliament Election’s preliminary debate” yesterday.

Youth for Better Democacry, a group of Tibetan
youth engaged in creating awareness about the
upcoming elections earlier released its list of
10 nominees each from the three traditional
provinces for the election of the 15th Tibetan
parliament. The list included both incumbent and
former MPs and also some new candidates.

Five incumbent MPs and 6 new faces took part in
yesterday’s debate at the Tibetan Institute of
Performing Arts auditorium and took questions from the audience.

Various groups have come out with their own lists
of candidates for the parliamentary and the Kalon Tripa elections.

The proposed candidates, the YFBD says, have
agreed to stand in allegiance to the principles
adopted by the group which clearly specifies that
nominees must not to engage in sectarian,
religious or factional politics in the
parliament, to respect political stands of both
the ‘Middle Way Policy’ and ‘Independence’ and to
practice non discrimination and democracy in the Tibetan community.

However, some other groups and regional
associations which have brought out their lists
have made it a condition for a candidate to
adhere to the Middle Way Policy of the exile
Tibetan government to be endorsed by the groups.

"It wasn’t too long that we were worried
believing there was no one to succeed Prof.
Samdhong Rinpoche. Today we have several people
standing in Kalon Tripa election. I am very happy
that we are moving on with so much public
interest and enthusiasm in choosing good leaders.
More than Kalon Tripa, YFBD believes that we must
have good non-factional people in the
parliament,” said Tenzin Tsundue, Tibetan writer
and activist who is one of the volunteers of the group.

Tibetan exiles will witness the first phase of
the election which is known as prelminary
elections on October 3, 2010 with the final phase
or the final election being scheduled for March 20, 2011.

In the last Kalon Tripa election in 2006, low
voter turnout was witnessed. 72,000 people (60%)
registered to vote but only 32,205 people (26.8%)
actually cast their votes. Estimates show that
some 120,000 of the approximately 150,000
Tibetans in exile are above the age of 18 and are eligible to vote.

"Democracy requires citizens to participate in
their government, beginning with the duty to
vote. And for the Tibetans in this critical phase
in our freedom struggle with His Holiness the
Dalai Lama getting older, we believe that the
Tibetan youths have a huge role to play in the
progress of our democracy, hence in YFBD, we have
voluntary participation from many Tibetan youths
from different backgrounds willing to make a more
vibrant democracy in the exile polity," said Tenzin Sonam, another volunteer.

"It is an important duty for the young Tibetan
voters to exercise their franchise and contribute
towards a successful realisation of our
democracy” said Tsering Youdon, an incumbent MP in her speech at the event.

Youdon noted an episode involving Tibetan younger
citizens exhibiting lack of responsibility saying
that “a group of college students in the South
India had requested for a facility to register
their Green Books at their area, but only 14
students turned up out of 100 students."

YFBD which is a network of young Tibetans across
the global community-especially in India- with a
common vision to build a stronger democracy is
hopeful that through their campaigns, public
awareness programs and educating the masses,
there will be more informed participation in the exile democratic endeavours.
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