Dhasa: The second ETC Organizing Committee is launching the European Chitue (MP) Initiative. This is an initiative to engage in a pre-election search for eligible candidates to run for office in the upcoming Tibetan Parliamentary preliminary elections in October 2010, and the final elections in March 2011.
The role of the next parliamentary representatives from Europe is of tremendous importance, as the number of Tibetans living in Europe is on the rise. According to the Tibetan Charter-in-exile, Tibetans living in Europe can elect two representatives.
"I believe that it is important that individuals committed to the Tibetan issue, combined with a good understanding of the European system, represent Tibetans living in Europe," said Thupten Gyatso, Chairperson of the ETC committee, which started this initiative. However, during the last general elections to the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile, only 36 per cent of the registered voters, or around 800 people out of 2224 registered voters, elected the two deputies from Europe.
"This is very disheartening. A democracy is only as strong as the people who participate in the process," Mr. Gyatso pointed out. "While we expect the Central Tibetan Administration to find a solution to one of the hardest problems, we also need to put in effort from our part as individual Tibetans. As the oppression in Tibet continues, and there is no immediate breakthrough in the dialogue with the Chinese government, it is imperative that Tibetans use the democratic system to put forward our best candidates. This will improve our democracy and add strength to our common cause."
Tibetans living in Europe can visit the ETC website (http://europetibetancongress.wordpress.com/) and nominate their candidates, who will be listed as nominations are sent in. The criteria for candidates are that nominee be over 25 years old, have current residency in Europe, and holds a green book. The ETC believes more information and transparency will improve the democratic process, and was inspired by the Kalon Tripa initiative launched by Mr. Thubten Samdup.