Panel for symbolic Tibetan head role for Dalai Lama


Mar25, 2011

A three-member committee constituted on Mar 21 to recommend action on the Dalai Lama’s Mar 14 directive to the exile parliament on his complete retirement from formal political role has on Mar 23 suggested that the political and administrative powers be devolved among the Kalon Tripa (the head of the administration), the exile parliament speaker, and the Chief Justice Commissioner. It has also proposed that a new clause be inserted in the exile Tibetan constitution to give a new designation to the Dalai Lama by which he will remain a symbolic head of the Tibetan administration.
The parliament constituted the committee after the Dalai Lama on Mar 19 rejected its petition asking that he reconsider his political retirement move. The committee consisted of the current Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche, Deputy Speaker Ms Gyari Dolma and exile MP Mr Lhamo Kyab.While the Kalon Tripa inherits the Dalai Lama’s administrative powers under the committee’s 10-age recommendations, the Chief Justice Commissioner gets to administer the oaths of office and secrecy to the Kalon Tripa and Speaker. Besides, some other powers of the Dalai Lama are proposed to be devolved on the Chief Justice Commissioner and parliament.

Also, the term “Ganden Phodrang”, which is the institution represented by the Dalai Lama and by which the Tibetan government has been designated since the year 1642, is to be changed to Central Tibetan Administration of Tibet under the committee’s recommendations.

Following the presentation of the recommendations, the Speaker, Mr Penpa Tsering, said the remaining two days of the 14th Parliament’s session would be devoted to discussing the matter. He suggested that the exile parliament make earnest efforts to carry out discussions thereon with an aim to reach a successful conclusion before the session ends on Mar 25.

However, some members have already expressed the view that the exile parliament may seek a referendum on the suggested changes, although it was not clear what the terms of such an exercise, if carried out, would be.  But it will certainly be a snub to the Dalai Lama’s directive to the parliament to complete the exercise during its current, final session.

The speaker had earlier opined that the current session might have to be extended by a day or two to enable a successful carrying out of the needed constitutional amendments. Constitutional amendments require a two-thirds majority support.