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Tibet-Sikyong-Kalons-Ministers-Kashag-2016Dharamshala — The 16th Tibetan Parliament-in- exile on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, approved all the seven nominated members of Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay's proposed cabinet. The Kalons of the newly formed 15th Kashag were selected through majority vote after they failed to gather a unanimous backing.

The first day of the newly elected 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile commenced with expressing solidarity with the Tibetans and pledging for more concerted efforts for the resolution of the same. The Speaker Khenpo Sonam Tenphel in his opening speech appreciated the diverse composition of the new house: he said "I extend my warm wishes to all of you today on the first day of the 16th Tibetan Parliament. The composition of this new parliament is a perfect blend of new and familiar faces. In fact, familiar faces constitute 22 while new faces constitute 23".

The total Chithues (MPs) were 45 but due to Dhardon Sharling's abstention from voting since she was nominated and absence of an MP led the majority to be mandated at 22 out of 43 with 51%.

Subsequently, in adherence to Article 23 (2) of the Charter for Tibetans in exile the selected members after successfully voted as Kalons, were allocated their departments as revealed in the portfolio released today, June 2 by Kashag Secretariat.

According to the portfolio, Ven Yuthok Karma Gelek, former Secretary of the Kashag Secretariat is the Kalon of the Department of Religion and Culture with 37 votes; Mr Khorlatsang Sonam Topgyal, former Secretary is the Kalon of the Department of Home with 38 votes, Mr Karma Yeshi, Editor-in-Chief of the Voice of Tibet radio is the Kalon of the Department of Finance with 27 votes; Labrang Phagpa Tsering, former Administrative Secretary is the Kalon of the Department of Security with 31 votes; Ms Sharling Tenzin Dhardon, chair of International Tibet Network is the Kalon of the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR) with 25 votes; Mr Choekyong Wangchuk, Executive Director of the Tibetan Parliamentary & Policy Research Centre is the Kalon of the Department of Health with 24 votes and Ngodup Tsering is reinstated as the Kalon of the Department of Education with 29 votes.

However, Sikyong officially withdrew the name of Ms Tenzin Dhardon Sharling from the 15th Kashag as she falls short of the age limit required to be a Kalon as enshrined in Article 29(2) of the Charter for Tibetans in exile. The minimum age requirement for one to be appointed as Kalon is 35.

Sikyong thanked the parliament for the approval of his cabinet ministers. "The composition of the new cabinet has been carefully drafted with His Holiness the Dalai Lama's vision and the official stance of the CTA, Middle-way Approach in mind. The new Kashag will strive to serve the Tibetan cause to its best ability and we hope the house will extend its cooperation as always," he said.

The elected ministers of the 15th Kashag administered the oath of office and secrecy by the chief Justice Commissioner Mr Kargyu Dhondup at a ceremony at the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration.