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Tibetans vote in large numbers to elect new PM

Sunday March 20, 2011 06:45:56 PM, IANS

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Dharamsala: Tibetans turned out in their colourful best Sunday to pick the next prime minister of their government-in-exile in elections that took place worldwide, days after the Dalai Lama said he would not reconsider his decision to hang his boots.

Long queues of men and women flashing their green colour voter identity cards turned up at 10 polling centres here to elect one of the three prime ministerial contenders: Lobsang Sangay, Tenzin Namgyal Tethong and Tashi Wangdi.

Sangey is a senior fellow of Harvard Law School. Tethong also lives in the US. Wangdi has been the Dalai Lama's representative in Brussels, New York and New Delhi.

Sangey emerged as the frontrunner in the 2010 balloting to nominate candidates for the prime minister's post, whose significance now goes up following the Dalai Lama's plans to retire from active politics.

Most Tibetans feel that the major political leadership of the government-in-exile is going to rest on the shoulders of the next prime minister.

Voters will also elect 43 members of the parliament in exile. The results will be declared April 27. The Dalai Lama is not a voter.

More than 83,000 Tibetans in India -- which alone has 56 Tibetan settlements -- were to take part in the election. In the US and Europe, the electoral process was under way. It ended in India at 5 p.m.

Some of the other countries where the election took place included Japan, Russia and Australia.

Election official Jamphel Choesang said that Nepal and Bhutan authorities imposed curbs on voting. Some Tibetans said this was due to pressures from Beijing.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against Communist rule. His government-in-exile is based here but is not recognised by any country.

Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, over 100,000 of them in India.







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Picture of the Day

President of India Mrs. Pratibha Devisingh Patil addressing at the inauguration of the National Festival of Tribal Dances, ‘PRAKRITI’, in New Delhi on March 16, 2011. Union Minister for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Culture, Kum. Selja, Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Kantilal Bhuria and Minister of State for Tribal Affairs Mahadev S. Khandela are also seen.

(Photo: Mukesh Kumar)



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