Tibetan Parliament to Relieve Dalai Lama of Duties

A fortnight after the Dalai Lama expressed his desire to give up his political duties, Tibetan Parliament in Exile today agreed to amend its Charter to grant his wish but proposed that he continues as the 'symbolic head' of the exiled Tibetan government.

Giving its formal approval to the Dalai Lama's wish to quit as the political head of the community, the Tibetan Parliament in Exile passed four resolutions on the last day of its Budget session today to prepare the ground map for the transition of power from the spiritual leader to democratically elected representative.

Prime Minister of the Tibetan government in exile Samthong Rimpoche told the Tibetan Parliament here that the House has agreed to the desire of the spiritual leader for an amendment in the Tibetan Charter (Constitution) to relieve him of his political duties.

"The charter shall be amended accordingly. And for that an amendment committee shall be constituted shortly," he said.

The chairman of the present (14th) Parliament has been authorized to choose this committee, he said.

"The Parliament will meet in a specially convened session by the end of May this year, (before the 15th Parliament takes over), to approve the amendments," he added.

The amendment committee shall give the report by April 11 and then the cabinet shall discuss it with the Dalai Lama, said MP Dhawa Tsering.

Earlier, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile discussed the report of the three-member committee which proposed amendments to the Tibetan Charter to devolve political and administrative powers of the Dalai Lama to the elected leadership of Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.

The committee proposed that a new clause should be added to the Tibetan Charter to give a new designation to the Dalai Lama in which he continues as a symbolic head of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile.

The Tibetan Parliament has accepted the Dalai Lama's wish about a fortnight after the Tibetan spiritual leader, who has been carrying on a six-decade-long struggle for freedom of Tibetan Buddhists, announced his decision here to retire as political head of Tibetan government-in-exile and to hand over his "formal authority" to a "freely-elected" leader.

At the time of announcing his decision to quit as political head, the 75-year-old Tibetan spiritual leader, had however, made it clear that he was committed to playing his part for the "just cause" of Tibet.

Making the announcement in his speech on the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising Day here on March 10, the Nobel Peace Laureate had said, "As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power."

"Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect," the Dalai Lama, who had escaped to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, had told hundreds of exiled Tibetans at the Main Temple in this hill resort on the occasion.

As per the resolutions passed by Tibetan Parliament today, a new committee consisting of members of the cabinet and Parliament would discuss threadbare the changes to be made in the Charter to facilitate the transition of power from the Dalai Lama to an elected representative and submit its report before April 11.

A general House of Tibetan Diaspora consisting of members of Parliament, Heads of Tibetan Institutions, representatives in other countries and other heads would be convened to hold further discussions on the report of the committee on transfer of political responsibilities and a special session of present Tibetan Parliament would be convened in the third week of May to give final approval to the amendments to be made in the Charter.

The result of elections of Prime minister and new Parliament would be declared on April 27 but the term of the present Parliament would expire in June and the purpose of convening a special session of present Parliament was to hand over the political responsibilities to the new government, Kelon Tripa (Prime Minister) Samdhong Rinpoche said while talking to mediapersons.

The Dalai Lama had conveyed his decision to give up his political responsibilities to the exiled Parliament on March 14 with request to make suitable amendments in Tibetan Charter to pave the way for transition of power to elected people.

The Parliament then passed a resolution on March 18 urging Dalai Lama to reconsider his decision but he refused to buzz and returned the resolution to the Parliament.

Kalon Tripa (PM) Samdhong Rinpoche presented recommendations to the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile on ways to amend the exile Charter and bring a new power structure to the Tibetan government-in-exile as the Dalai Lama retires from political leadership.

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