Exiled Tibetan candidates to debate

The three candidates vying to be PM will take part from Washington and India.

Updated: Mar 12, 2011, 10:54 AM IST

Washington: A US-based broadcaster said on Friday it would hold a live debate of candidates seeking to head the next Tibetan government-in-exile, as the Dalai Lama retires from his political position.

Radio Free Asia said it would hold the live debate on radio, satellite television and the Internet on Sunday and hoped that Tibetans around the world -- including those living under Chinese rule -- would participate.

"Through this debate, Radio Free Asia provides a means for the Tibetan exile community worldwide to participate in a unique, democratic process that will affect the future of Tibetan affairs," said Libby Liu, president of the US-funded broadcaster.

The three candidates vying to be prime minister -- -- Lobsang Sangay, Kasur Tenzin Namgyal Tethong and Tashi Wangdi -- will take part from Washington and India, the home of the government in exile.

The broadcaster is also holding a series of public debates in Tibetan settlements in India.

The 200,000-strong exile community will vote on March 20 to replace outgoing Prime Minister-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche.

Boosting the prominence of the next prime minister, the Dalai Lama said on Thursday that he would step down as political head of the exiled government. But the 75-year-old monk said he would maintain his spiritual role.

The Dalai Lama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, enjoys a wide following around the world. He fled Chinese rule in 1959 and Beijing presses other governments not to deal with him.

Bureau Report