Dalai Lama's retirement: Lawmakers look at way ahead

Last Updated: Mon, Mar 21, 2011 09:10 hrs

Dharamsala, March 21 (IANS) With spiritual leader the Dalai Lama turning down the plea to reconsider his retirement from political authority, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile here is now examining the way forward to pave the way for change, an official said here Monday.

'The parliament that met today (Monday) after a two-day break is now looking for other options that could pave the way for His Holiness (the Dalai Lama) to shed political authority,' Tenzin Norbu, a spokesperson for the parliamentary secretariat, told IANS.

He, however, said there would be no further discussions on the Dalai Lama's decision. 'The resolution on the same issue can't be sent again to the Dalai Lama as rules bind parliament in this regard,' he added.

The Dalai Lama formally announced his political retirement at the onset of the Tibetan parliament's budget session March 14. On March 18, parliament passed a resolution March 18, urging the Dalai Lama to reconsider his retirement plans. The resolution was signed by 37 of the 38 members.

A day later, the 75-year-old Nobel laureate publicly appealed to the Tibetans to accept his decision by making necessary amendments in Charter of Tibetans (constitution) to pass on his political authority to an elected leader.

'The rule by spiritual leaders or the rule by kings is an outdated concept. In reality, I have been describing myself as a semi-retired person for the last 10 years,' the spiritual head told a gathering here.

Speaker Penpa Tsering said parliament was now working to arrive at a consensus on two other options.

These are: 'First, to accept the suggestion of His Holiness and make changes accordingly. If members say that we agree with the Dalai Lama's proposal, then separate committees would have to be formed. Then there would be a long process, something that cannot be done within the period of this house because the 14th parliament is also coming to an end by May and new parliament and cabinet would come into being by June.'

'Second, to try to find a middle way wherein the elected representatives can take responsibility for executive affairs with the Dalai Lama in charge of the political leadership.'

The Dalai Lama's government-in-exile is not recognised by any country, including India. Some 140,000 Tibetans now live in exile, over 100,000 of them in various parts of India. Over six million Tibetans live in Tibet.