A Unique Tibetan Democracy

posted Dec 3, 2010, 8:51 AM by The Tibetan Political Review   [ updated Dec 6, 2010, 10:36 PM ]

Dear Editors,

I agree with the many who claim that the huge gap in the result of the preliminary election was due to the fact that none of the other candidates had gone to the monasteries to campaign. While many voters saw this as lack of enthusiasm on the part of the candidates, I feel that this reluctance on the part of these candidates was due to these individuals' upholding their Buddhist principles of not wanting to use the monastic community for their political platform. I do respect them for that.

However, the most important issue at this time is to find the most capable and good hearted person to entrust the post of our Kalon Tripa. In order to do that, voters need to personally hear from not only one, but all the candidates and their views and plans. By not visiting the monasteries, the monks and nuns are actually being deprived of information necessary for them to make a well informed decision. Thus, I now support urging the candidates to campaign at these sites. In future, as we enthusiastically embrace our fledging democracy we must not forget to protect our Buddhist values.

In Jamyang Dorjee la's excellent article in Phayul "The Tibetan Prime Ministerial Elections," he said "However democratic we may become, we can not do any thing without His Holiness. Our Democracy is and should be ‘Unique Tibetan Democracy’ with special status and regards to His Holiness."

At this early stage of our democracy, it will not be too difficult to shape the process of our election to fit our unique Buddhist culture which His Holiness often calls as one of our "Tibetan identity." However, simply replicating and copying western and modern methods will not help to ground our secular government in our Buddhist values as His Holiness wishes. Therefore, our Election Commission must adapt these methods with our own culture and society. They can start by providing a special platform for all the candidates at the monasteries.

Further, I agree with Ngodup Tsering la's suggestion in The Tibetan Political Review, that "the Commission should also set up a budgetary provision for official Kalon Tripa candidates to carry out effective campaigns." It would be a great loss to our cause if the best of our candidates miss out because they did not have the funds to travel.

As voters, we must also carefully examine our personal basis and criteria for choosing their preferred candidate. That is, the candidate’s experience, education, services to our government and communities, and their plan for furthering our cause must all be paramount factors in our decision. We must be weary of one of our most pervasive and serious flaws in our election decision making process, and that is our regional and sectarian allegiance. So, if we want a Kalon Tripa who will work for the welfare 6 million Tibetans and further His Holiness' vision for Tibet, we too must put aside our own regional and religious divisions and cast our vote with the 6 million Tibetans’ best interest at mind.

His Holiness and all the Tibetans in Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan who have no voice in these elections are anxiously waiting for us to do the right thing. Please do not disappoint them. Remember, we want a Kalon Tripa who will lighten His Holiness's burden, not add to it.

Thank you,

Tsewong Chonzom Chazotsang