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Yeshi Phuntsok (C) speaking to Tibetan media at Ngari Chithung Association in Dharamshala, India on 03 June, 2010. Photo: TPIDharamshala: At a press conference in Dharamshala on Saturday, Ven Yeshi Phuntsok, the president of the Ngari Chithun Association, announced its candidates in the upcoming elections for the next Tibetan Prime Minister and the members of the 15th Tibetan Parliament.

The association namely announced five candidates for the next Tibetan prime minister and 27 candidates for members of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile. The top candidates were selected at the association's 17th national convention held in June, after being chosen by the current and former members of the organization and its regional bodies.

"We have decided to announce the candidates without requiring them a pre-condition of our organization, like, ask them to fill forms and force them (candidates) to sign, but its done by sincerely " said, Yeshi Phuntsok.

Various NGOs including Women's Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, and organizations of the three traditional province in-exile are organizing different initiatives to select better candidates in the upcoming elections.

Just a week ago, at a press conference held in Dharamshala, Ms. Dolma Tsering, the president of the Utsang province organization, announced the province's three candidates for prime minister and its 20 candidates for members of parliament in a different way. "All announced candidates for members of parliament have been asked to sign to two pre-conditions," says Tsering. The organization's pre-conditions are a candidate must support the middle-way approach of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, must not stand on Tibet independent ideology and also must be loyal to his own provential organisation.

People are confused by the candidates who signed the organization's pre-conditions that strongly require that they "must not stand on Tibet independent ideology" because four of the 20 candidates are involved in high level positions in the Tibetan Youth Congress, the largest Tibetan NGO who has been, and currently is, fighting for Tibet independence.

A website called "The Prime Minister" (Kalontripa), a private initiative searching for the next Tibetan prime minister, has published 20 nominees for the next Tibetan Prime minister Election, most of them of the younger generation.

Many Tibetans raised questions regarding the candidates for the next Tibetan prime minister, as the candidates' names had been published on a website. The Tibetan election commissioner clarified in June that this website is an independent volunteer initiative. Indeed, the website was "not launched by [the] Tibetan government and selection of its candidates are also not official initiative, but those who will elected by people in March this year will be official."

"Please note that the kalontripa.org website is a private initiative and should not be mistaken for the official Tibetan Election Commission process," Thupen Samdup said in a recently-issued announcement.

Samdup clarified, saying that "since [his] appointment as the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Northern Europe and the Baltic States, the Kalon Tripa project and website is being managed and maintained by a group of volunteers in India and Canada."

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