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The Dalai Lama’s insistence on devolution of power will mean handing greater authority to the Tibetan prime-minister-in-exile, the Kalon Tripa.
Over 50 years after the popular uprising in Tibet against Chinese Communist rule and his eventual flight to India, the Dalai Lama last week said he plans to formally step down as political leader of the India-based Tibetan government-in-exile, while retaining his role as spiritual leader.
“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,” the Dalai Lama said in Dharamsala, a town that serves as headquarters for Tibet’s government-in-exile, in an annual speech marking the anniversary of the failed 1959 uprising.
“My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run,” the Dalai Lama said.
The Dalai Lama’s insistence on devolution of power will mean handing greater authority to the Tibetan prime-minister-in-exile, the Kalon Tripa. Currently there are three main candidates for the office of Kalon Tripa: Lobsang Sangay, who holds a doctorate from Harvard Law School, Tenzin Tethong, a fellow at Stanford University, and Tashi Wangdi, who has long been the Dalai Lama’s representative to Europe. Elections are slated for March 20.
This has been met by some resistance by many of his followers, who wish him to remain Tibet’s political leader. On Monday, in a letter read out in the Tibetan parliament-in-exile in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama explained that: “If we have to remain in exile for several more decades, a time will inevitably come when I will no longer be able to provide leadership,” according to a report by the AFP. The lawmakers are scheduled to debate on the Dalai Lama’s request to step down on Tuesday.
While most observers of the Tibetan movement in India hailed the Dalai Lama’s democratic move, many also noted this may be problematic in the longer term. “It’s a good move. Though it came late, it should be welcomed,” said S. Chandrasekharan, director of South Asia Analysis Group, a Delhi-based think tank.
“Till now all three roles – cultural, political and spiritual—were concentrated in him,” said Mr. Chandrasekharan. “He can’t of course give up the spiritual role and there is no replacement for him as global figurehead of the Tibetan movement.”
Mr. Chandrasekharan said that while Tibet’s political movement will survive, it will be a tough task for whoever will succeed the Dalai Lama in his capacity as political leader. For example, “India wouldn’t want any anti-China political movement from its soil,” he said.
Swaran Singh Jaswal, professor of international politics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi says the Dalai Lama’s relinquishing of political authority is a “part of his effort to make sure the Tibetan movement remains robust.” “By pushing for democratization, he is trying to gain visibility and publicity to show to the world that he is not supporting the theocracy that China alleges him to have been doing.”
Fuente: India Real Time