Democracy for Tibet

The Sunday elections of Tibetan community in Exile represent a step towards a full democratic system[:] after the announcement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on March 10 to step down from the political leadership. He announced that he will concentrate on his spiritual and religious role.

The now elected Prime Minister will have to fill the role of the full political leader of Tibetans. EU and other international actors should support the newly elected representatives in this. Maybe it will be now easier for the governments to meet officially both His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the new Prime Minister, as their roles will be clearly separated?

The International Network of Parliamentarians for Tibet has conducted a Tibetan Election Observation Mission. The preliminary statement of the mission says that the network is “impressed by the way in which the organization of elections has taken place over the last months”. The international community should recognize the positive development of the Tibetan administration in exile into a democratic system. If Tibet would be an independent state, it is certain that it won’t anymore be the old feudal state some critics are referring to.

I am deeply concerned about the unfortunate situation in Nepal. It seems that 10.000 Tibetans were not allowed to vote in Kathmandu. Already during the first round of elections on 3rd of October 2010 ballot boxes were confiscated by Nepal’s police and Tibetan community voting sites were shut down. The Tibetan communities in Nepal had received the authorization for polling.

This shows a worrying trend for democracy in Nepal and consenting to the Chinese pressure. I urge the Nepalese government to fulfil its obligations to international human rights standards and not to hinder the development of the Tibetan democracy. This is why I signed before the elections the attached appeal to the Government of Nepal to provide full cooperation in the Tibetan elections.

Tibetans in exile voted the March 20 for the new Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) and for the 44 members of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile. The results will be out on April 27.


H. E. Mr. Jhala Nath Khanal
Prime Minister
Government of Nepal
Amsterdam, 29 February, 2011
Your Excellency,

We, the undersigned parliamentarians from around the world appeal to the Government of Nepal to provide full cooperation when on 20 March, 2011 Tibetan refugees who have enjoyed the hospitality in country cast their votes to elect their leaders in the Central Tibetan Administration and the Tibetan Parliament in Exile.

We launch this appeal as we remain deeply concerned about the confiscation of ballot boxes at several polling centres in Kathmandu when on 3 October, 2010 when the Tibetans were voting in the preliminary round of the Tibetan election process. Despite the many appeals from the international community, we learn that the ballot boxes have not been returned to the Tibetan refugee community.

We believe as an emerging democractic country, Nepal must uphold democratic rights of the Tibetan people who are conducting a unique internal election process which has existed since 1960. The democratic institutions established by the Tibetan Refugee Community under the leadership of H. H. the Dalai Lama during the past 50 years must not be undermined by government sanctioned disruptions. Instead, your Government should support and applaud the Tibetans for exercising their right to elect their leadership.

While urging the Government of Nepal to fulfill its obligations to international human rights standards, we also urge Your Excellency to ensure that the Tibetans get the full opportunity and freedom to cast their votes on 20 March, 2011 without interference.