Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Australian Tibetans Vote In Landmark Election For Tibet's New Leader

Monday, 21 March 2011

On Sunday, the 20th March, Australia's Tibetans will be joining Tibetans around the world in voting for the new Kalon Tripa - Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The landmark election is a culmination of a lengthy process of democratisation under the leadership of the Dalai Lama, who recently made the decision to hand all political leadership to the new prime minister and parliament. "Today we see the realisation of the Dalai Lama's goal of establishing a modern democratic system, a vision he has held since coming into exile over fifty years ago," said Tsering Kyinzom Dhongdue, Research and Government Relations Manager for the Australia Tibet Council. "The move to democracy is one of the most important achievements of the Tibetan exile community and a notable contrast to the continuing totalitarian rule in China." Read more

On Sunday, the 20th March, Australia's Tibetans will be joining Tibetans around the world in voting for the new Kalon Tripa - Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. The landmark election is a culmination of a lengthy process of democratisation under the leadership of the Dalai Lama, who recently made the decision to hand all political leadership to the new prime minister and parliament. "Today we see the realisation of the Dalai Lama's goal of establishing a modern democratic system, a vision he has held since coming into exile over fifty years ago," said Tsering Kyinzom Dhongdue, Research and Government Relations Manager for the Australia Tibet Council. "The move to democracy is one of the most important achievements of the Tibetan exile community and a notable contrast to the continuing totalitarian rule in China." Two frontrunners have emerged in a race that has sparked unprecedented interest among Tibetans and Tibet watchers: Dr Lobsang Sangay, a young Harvard scholar and winner of November's primaries, and Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, a former Kalon Tripa with over three decades of distinguished service to the Tibetan Government-in-Exile. In recent months the candidates have faced off in a series of public and televised debates on the most important issues surrounding Tibet's future, including Tibet's relationship with China. Through the internet, YouTube and social media, Tibetans have overcome the unique challenge of an election whose voters are scattered across many countries. "The election has ignited fresh debate among Tibetans, with Tibetans young and old embracing the democratic process and hotly debating each candidate's merits.It is a proud day for Tibetans around the world - the beginning of a new and exciting era and a move that will ensure that Tibetan society and culture continues to flourish in exile until such a time as we can return to Tibet." Australia is home to around 1000 Tibetans, the largest group living in Sydney's northern beach suburb of Dee Why. The polling booth will be open at James Meehan Reserve, adjacent to Dee Why Beach, between 9am and 5pm on Sunday. The election is occurring against a backdrop of continuing oppression inside Tibet, with reports this week of a violent crackdown on protests in Ngaba (northeastern Tibet) after a young monk self-immolated in a desperate act of opposition to Chinese rule. Tibet was again closed to foreigners over last week's sensitive anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising. For further information and comment: Tsering Kyinzom Dhongdue 02 9283 3466