Dalai Lama formally relinquishes political role

The amendments were debated during the special three day session of the Tibetan Parliament.

Dharamsala: Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama has formally relinquished his political and administrative role by signing amendments to the Constitution of the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The amendments, mostly pertaining to political and administrative powers vested with 75-year-old Dalai Lama were debated during the special three day session of the Tibetan Parliament and presented to the Dalai Lama, who accepted them yesterday, said Tenzin Norbu, Tibetan Parliament Spokesperson.

After the approval of the amendments to Tibetan Charter (Constitution) by Dalai Lama, "All political powers formerly held jointly by him and the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to represent and serve the whole people
of Tibet, are now vested in the CTA and in particular its democratic leadership and Dalai Lama would only remain the spiritual head as per his wishes," he said.

During the special session from May 26 to 28, the Parliament approved a new preamble and inherent rights and responsibilities to be assigned to the Dalai Lama under Article 1 of the charter.

Under Article 1, the Dalai Lama is the "Protector and Symbol of Tibet and Tibetan People" and his duties would be to provide advice and encouragement with respect to protection and promotion of physical, spiritual, ethical and cultural wellbeing of the Tibetan people, to remain engaged in efforts to reach a satisfactory solution to the question of Tibet and
to accomplish the cherished goals of the Tibetan people.

He will provide suggestions in various forms to the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies and Kashag (council of ministers) in matters of importance to the Tibetan people, including the community and its institutions in exile, at his own initiative or at the request of those bodies. The Dalai Lama will meet with world leaders and other important individuals to speak on behalf of the Tibetans, to explain and discuss their concerns and needs as well as to
designate representatives and special envoys appointed by the cabinet to serve the interests of the Tibetan people in any part of the world, according to the approved amendments.

The powers vested with the Dalai Lama as head of the executive under Article 19 have been delegated to the Prime Minister, who is now empowered to approve and promulgate bills and regulations passed by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile while other responsibilities have been devolved to the
Parliament and the judiciary.

In April, Harvard scholar Lobsang Sangay was elected as Prime Minister.

Another landmark amendment made to the charter is the annulment of Council of Regency enshrined in Articles (31-35), which empowered the council to "assume the role of Dalai Lama’s role in circumstances when the latter is not acting as head of the state".

The Parliament also approved that the title of `Tibetan Government-in-Exile` be changed to `Tibetan Administration`.

The meeting approved proposals to appeal to His Holiness to assume the role of ceremonial head of state in addition to the Preamble and Article 1 which the Dalai lama rejected but gave his consent to the Preamble and inherent responsibilities to be assigned to him in Article 1.

However, the new duties are not binding on the Dalai Lama.

Terming the devolution of the Dalai Lama’s formal authority as a watershed in Tibet`s history, the Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament said the 14th Parliament lived up to his aspirations and visions for the both short and long term benefit of Tibet and the Tibetan people.


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