Australia Tibet Council

Enabling everyone in Australia to be part of change in Tibet

Tibetans elections 2016

Friday, 18 December 2015

It is an exciting time for exile Tibetans around the world as they go to the final round of polls on 20 March to elect their new Sikyong (Prime Minister) and Chitues (Members of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile).

The two candidates for the post of the Sikyong are incumbent Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering, currently Speaker of the Parliament-in-Exile.

Watch Canada Tibet Committee’s interviews with Lobsang Sangay and Penpa Tsering.

Tibetans in Australia will vote for a new seat in the Parliament, one representing Tibetans in Australasia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan.)

KyinzomDhongdueThere are three candidates for this seat - Kyinzom Dhongdue, ATC’s campaign manager, Ngodup Gyaltsen, former secretary of the Tibet Information Office in Canberra, and Thupten Dhondup, former president of the Melbourne Tibetan community.

We fully support the Tibetan democratic process, but do not endorse any particular candidate.NgodupGyaltsen


Democracy has ensured the continuity and resilience of the Tibetan struggle. Soon after coming to India as a refugee in 1959, the Dalai Lama began setting up a democratic administration at his exile base in Dharamsala in northern India. From the establishment of the first body of Tibetan parliamentarians in 1960 to the direct election of Kalon Tripa (head of the Cabinet) in 2001 to the complete transfer of Tibet’ political leadership from the Dalai Lama to an elected leader in 2011, Tibetan democracy in exile has indeed come a long way. Tibetan elections are held every five years.

In a testament to the vibrancy of Tibetan democracy in exile, the 2016 election has been markedly different. For the first time in exile politics, candidates have advocated for Tibet’s complete independence (Rangzen) from China’s occupation. This means challenging the Central Tibetan Administration’s Middle Way Approach - a longstanding proposal to the Chinese government to resolve Tibet’s political issue by seeking genuine autonomy while remaining under China’s rule.

ThuptenDhondupThe new Tibetan Parliament will have 45 members – ten each from the three Tibetan provinces of U-Tsang, Dotoe (Kham) and Domey (Amdo), two each from the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the native Bon religion, two each from the Tibetan communities in North America and Europe, and one from the Tibetan communities in Australia and Asia (excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan).

In Australia, the candidates for the Member of Parliament have participated in both face-to-face and online debates hosted by the local Tibetan communities in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra and Brisbane. The key issues facing Tibetans in this part of the world are building stronger political support for Tibet and strengthening the local communities, especially in the promotion of Tibetan language, culture and religion.