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Parliamentarian Network Releases Report on Tibetan Elections

posted May 5, 2011, 5:28 PM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated May 10, 2011, 10:27 AM ]
29 April, 2011

International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT)

INPaT TEOM Releases Report on Tibetan Elections

The International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) deployed a team of 22 members in its Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) to Europe, South Asia and North America and observe the final Tibetan election-day on 20 March, 20111.

Today we release the Final TEOM Mission Report titled, "Historic Elections of Tibetan Institutions in Exile are Deemed Free and Fair Despite Many Challenges". The full text of the report, which includes an assessment of the observation and recommendations, can be found here)

While taking note of the results of the elections, which were announced on 27 April, 2011 by the Tibetan Election Commission of the Tibetan Government in Exile in Dharamsala, India, INPaT TEOM wishes to congratulate the KalonTripa-elected Dr. Lobsang Sangay and all elected members of the 15thTibetan Parliament in Exile and to acknowledge the support received from all Tibetan institutions in exile, from Tibetan NGOs and individuals, and from candidates with whom TEOM members were able to hold consultations.

INPaT TEOM, deems the elections held on March 20, 2011 all over the world, as free and fair, and in its recommendations to the newly elected 15th Tibetan Parliament in Exile, urges it to further improve the Tibetan democratic system by reviewing the electoral laws to reflect general international standards and recommendations, including those submitted by the Tibetan Election Commission.

In particular:

  • timely and proper vote counting procedures, including counting of ballots, should be carried out at each polling station and at the central level in the presence of independent observers and representatives from all candidates. While recognizing logistical problems, with today's technology, the count should be completed within 2-3 days and made public immediately after;
  • appropriate electoral financing rules should be instituted, reflecting the best international standards, including limits on donations and expenditures and the mandatory public disclosure of all contributions received by the candidates (with a minimum threshold to be indicated);
  • the promotion of more women candidates is a desirable goal and rules should be amended to achieve this goal, including availability of resources;
  • rules regarding voting rights of monks and nuns and about regional voting need to be updated to reflect the evolution of Tibetan society in exile over the last decades; in fact, the current electoral system for the election of the Tibetan Parliament in exile produces the peculiar effect that, while secular Tibetans vote either for 10 or 2 candidates depending on the region they belong to or where their family comes from, monks and nuns have 2 additional votes to elect the representatives of their religious school;
  • in many polling stations, long line-ups resulted in voting delays of2/3 hours or more. Provision of appropriate resources will reduce this problem, with additional election officials at polling stations;
  • all candidates should be requested to submit their opinions to the Parliament on how to improve the process;
  • use of bilingual ballot papers in the countries where young Tibetans born in exile might not be capable of reading the Tibetan language should also be provided;

As a final consideration TEOM wishes to note that the proposal made by His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Tibetan Parliament in Exile on March 10, 2011, to amend the Tibetan Charter concerning his institutional and political functions, is in line with international democratic standards concerning the separation between the role of religious authorities and of political institutions.

Matteo Mecacci+ 39 347 968 2837
Thomas Mann + 32 2 228 45 318
Senator Consiglio Di Nino + 1 613 943 14 54
Ngawang Choephel + 41 76 57 55 731