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My thoughts on the new Tibetan Cabinet-in-Exile

posted Sep 18, 2011, 6:47 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Sep 19, 2011, 12:06 PM ]
By Bhuchung K. Tsering
The International Campaign for Tibet
ICT Blog, September 16, 2011

Although Kalon Tripa Lobsang Sangay (Chairman of the Cabinet) of the Central Tibetan Administration took his oath of office on August 8, 2011, the work of his Administration as a whole began today, September 16, 2011, with the presentation of his six nominees for his Cabinet to the Tibetan Parliament.  The Parliament’s unanimous confirmation of the kalons or the Ministers can be taken as an indication of its desire to support the endeavor of the new Kalon Tripa.  One would have thought that some of the parliamentarians may have questions, if not reservations, about some of the nominees but they seem to have gone with the flow of the prevailing feeling in the Tibetan community that the new Administration should be given the opportunity to succeed.

I am giving below the names of the ministers and their background information, as released by the Central Tibetan Administration. E xcept for one, five of the kalons have had some experience at different levels in the Central Tibetan Administration; three of them had served as ministers while one was a member of the parliament and the other served as a physician in the Tibetan settlements in India.

The next step will be for the Kalon Tripa to allocate the portfolios to the Ministers.  Given his emphasis on relationship with China and education, it will be specially interesting to see who are entrusted with the Department of Information & International Relations and the Department of Education.

Although the Cabinet as a whole would be involved in policy formulation, the personalities of individuals heading the departments will have strong impact on how these are implemented down the line.

This is a critical period of our democratic transition and I wish the new Administration all success.  Even as they begin their administration in earnest, I want to highlight a challenge that the Kalon Tripa and the ministers will have.  In the course of his campaign, election, and subsequently, Kalon Tripa Sangay has gained a profile and a status quite different from his predecessors.  This is certainly a strength, but would also be a challenge without the right balance.  Now the Kalon Tripa is not alone but there is a team of ministers, who are an integral part of the decision making process.  The seven ministerial departments of Religion & Culture; Security, Home, Finance, Information & International Relations, Education, and Health have different needs.  The ministers are different from civil servants (who merely implement policies) and their potential can be taken advantage of if they are not treated as such.  Therefore, much will depend on the balance that is maintained between the Kalon Tripa’s authority and that of the individual kalons as they begin administering the community.

We have really entered an interesting time in the Tibetan administration in diaspora.  The new Kalon Tripa and his new Cabinet comes with much expectation from both Tibetans and non-Tibetans.

Originally published at:  Reprinted in TPR with permission.  

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