Tibetans-in-exile to vote in first phase of global election today

Around 80,000 exiled Tibetans will participate in the first phase of the global election for Sikyong — president of Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) — and members of the 17th Parliament-in-exile on Sunday amid the pandemic. The final round of the two-phase election will be held on April 11, 2021. The votes will be cast through ballot.

As per the CTA election commission, of the 80,000 voters 56,000 live in India, Nepal and Bhutan while 24,000 are in other countries.

Eight candidates are in fray for Sikyong, including representative of the Dalai Lama in New Delhi and former CTA home minister Kasur Dongchung Ngodup, former representative of Dalai Lama to North America Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang, former speaker of the Parliament-in-exile Penpa Tsering and incumbent deputy speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntosok.

Incumbent Sikyong Lobsang Sangay was the first elected political leader of exiled Tibetans. An individual can serve only two terms as a Sikyong.

Around 150 candidates are vying for 45 seats of members of parliament—10 representatives from each of the traditional provinces of Tibet – U-Tsang, Dhotoe and Dhomey; two from each of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the pre-Buddhist Bon religion.

Besides, two representatives each are elected from the Tibetan communities in North America and Europe; and one from Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).

Polling stations have been set up and social distancing, wearing masks, sanitisation will be observed.

Dharamshala settlement officer and head of the Dharamshala regional election commission Kunga Tsering said elections will be held as per the Covid SOPs issued by the Government of India and CTA.

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