Tibetan parliament to decide on Dalai Lama move in May

Last Updated: Fri, Mar 25, 2011 15:30 hrs

Dharamsala, March 25 (IANS) The Tibetan parliament-in-exile Friday formally accepted the Dalai Lama's proposal to relinquish political authority and decided to hold a special session by May-end to amend its charter to pave the way for his retirement, an official said.

The parliament, before its tenure ends in May, will hold an extra session to entrust responsibility to amend its charter, clearing the way for the 75-year-old Nobel laureate's retirement, Tenzin Norbu, a spokesperson for the parliamentary secretariat, told IANS.

The parliament also decided to constitute a committee comprising parliamentarians and members of the Tibetan cabinet to recommend various parameters to amend the constitution for smooth transition of powers from the Dalai Lama to an elected political leader. It will submit its report by April 11.

Norbu said a general meeting of Tibetan diaspora, mainly settled in India, Nepal and Bhutan, would be convened in May to hold further discussions on the committee report.

He said the parliamentarians on the last day of the budget session also decided to accept the recommendations of a three-member committee formed by the parliament.

The committee, that also included Prime Minister Samdhong Rinpoche and Deputy Speaker Dolma Gyari, suggested that the majority of the powers vested in the Dalai Lama be transferred to the prime minister, including the power to make laws, by amending the constitution.

The report was submitted to the parliament by Rinpoche March 23.

The tenure of the 14th parliament is coming to an end in May-end. Voting to elect the next 'Kalon Tripa' or prime minister-in-exile and 43 members of parliament was conducted March 20. The results will be declared April 27.

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 urging the Dalai Lama to reconsider his retirement plans. The resolution was signed by 37 of the 38 members.

A day later, the Nobel laureate publicly appealed to Tibetans to accept his decision by making necessary amendments in the Charter of Tibetans 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'The rule by spiritual leaders or the rule by kings is an outdated concept.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.

According to Article 19 of the Tibetan charter, the Dalai Lama is vested with the chief executive powers of the Tibetan administration. He is also empowered to approve and promulgate bills and regulations prescribed by the Tibetan assembly; confer honours and appointments; summon, adjourn, postpone and prolong the parliament; dissolve or suspend the parliament, etc.

'There are 39 other clauses in the charter outlining the power and the responsibilities of the Dalai Lama. All these will be amended after the discussions,' a parliamentarian said.

The Dalai Lama has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against the Communist rule. His government-in-exile is based here but is not recognised by any country.

Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, over 100,000 of them in India.