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02march20104The largest settlement of Tibetans living in exile witnessed a major panel discussion on "The Significance of 2011 and The Status of Our Democracy” last Saturday afternoon.

Despite a hot  afternoon, Dekyi Larsoe Tibetan Community Hall in Bylakuppe was thronged with over 800 people to participate in the panel discussion on the topic that currently adorns every Tibetan discussion.

The latest awareness campaign on the promotion of democracy focussing specially on the upcoming Prime-Ministerial and Parliamentary elections.

The panelist for the current discussion by NDPT included Choekyong Wangchuk, Tibetan MP and Executive Director of TPPRC, Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, Tibetan MP and President of Tibetan Womens Association, Pema Delek, Former Tibetan Parliament member, Lukar Jam, Independent Researcher, Lobsang Yeshi, Former Vice President of  TheTibetan Youth Congress and Independent Researcher and Chime Youngdung, President of NDPT. The Panel discussion and the Public debate was moderated by Utruk Tsering, General Secretary of NDPT and Geshe Loga from Sera-Mey University.

President Chime Youngdung in his introductory address briefed the audience on the importance and the objectives of the awareness campaign. Besides speaking about the founding of the organization.  Mr. President also stressed  the significance of 2011, and the responsibility of the Tibetan people for making the upcoming events historic and a success in the annal of Tibetan democracy and the Tibetan struggle.

Choekyong Wangchuk in his presentation emphasized that the year 2010 is as equally important as year 2011 in Tibetan struggle, so everyone must be prepared for the both events;  the Prime-Ministerial election and the parliamentary elections. While stressing  that Tibetan Democracy is the gift from His Holiness, he also assured that compared to the other democracies of the world, Tibetan democracy has advanced greatly and one should not be so much perturbed with certain unpleasant developments.  Mr Choekyong concluded that those who wish to stand for the elections in  the Prime-Ministerial and parliamentary should declare  and present themselves openly before the public.

03march20103Kirti Dolker Lhamo: under the guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said we are gifted with democracy with three perfect democracy pillars. So we should not waste this gift,  we should also act accordingly to the time. Today, our foremost duty is to search for a perfect candidate for the Tibetan Prime minister and members of Tibetan parliament in exile. Mrs. Dolkar  stressed that the next Tibetan prime minister should be one that follows  the Middle way.

Pema Delek:  stated that the perfection of our Democracy depends fully on the Tibetan people. We shouldn’t force our people to vote for a particular candidate but it is important to create awareness amongst the people of the importance of voting and election. We need to elect someone who is  responsible and sincere.  He explained that our democracy could be termed both as a Parliamentary Democracy as well as a Presidential Democracy given the present structure and power distribution.

Lobsang Yeshi in his address stated that Democracy of Tibetan exiles is one great achievement that we can flaunt against China. Undemocratic China still remains one reason why the world supports us and hates China. Democracy in China could also be a major turning point for freedom and independence in Tibet. He further stated that looking back, Tibetan democracy has attained great strides towards perfection. And if there still are drawbacks in our democracy, a major reason could be that we have failed to follow the advice and guidance of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

He further stressed that another thing that ails our democracy is that despite huge and unprecedented awareness campaign, there is a smaller population involving in the processes of democracy. Even those who are actively involved in the elections, their final verdicts are driven by affiliations and affinity. The upcoming
Prime-Ministerial and the parliamentary election is yet again a test of our democracy and commitment of Tibetan people  and the struggle for freedom.  

Chime Youngdung in his speech stated that Tibetan democracy is far from  perfection as the Tibetan Parliament still has only one house. He stressed that for a democracy to be called genuine we must have 2 houses of Parliament and also build a multi party system. In the present environment, the public do not know even the 43 Chitues as the interaction and the commitments is almost non-existent. We need to share the burden of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and work towards contributing to its perfection. To implement His Holiness's wish, our Parliament must initiate measures to work towards realization of these goals. Until then we cannot call ours a perfect democracy.

In the future  of eventualities of  the absence of His Holiness,  a perfect Tibetan Parliament consisting of 2 houses involving representatives directly elected by people would carry forward the struggle to its fruition.

The final speaker, Lukar Jam in his deliberation stated that while mentioning the Democracy as a gift of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, we must remember the contribution and sacrifices made by numerous Tibetan patriots, scholars and writers like Dawa Norbu and Jamyang Norbu.  Our next Tibetan prime minister a  must be  open minded as well as sincere, and must be a strong advocate of Rangzen. Until a candidate for a Tibetan prime minister comes out specifically with a clear declaration of his intentions to fight  the election and  presents various views on issues related with  theTibetan struggle, we must not vote for anybody. I will not vote for anybody and I appeal everyone not to vote for anybody.

He further appealed to the monks to shun politics. If possible vote only for the religious sect candidate and not the regional  candidates.

This talk was followed by intra-discussions and Q & A wherein speakers clarified each others views and questioned each other.

This was later followed by hour-long Q & A from the public. Later a thank you speech and souvenirs for the speakers was presented by the President Chime Youngdung.

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