Tibetan sweater sellers have voiced concerns over the preliminary election date set for October 3, 2010 by the Election Commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). The said date announced for the preliminary election for the next members of the Tibetan Parliament and Kalon Tripa (Chairman of the cabinet) coincides during the time when Tibetan sweater sellers travel different places for their seasonal sweater-selling businesses.
Suggesting a change of the preliminary election date, Sherap, a Tibetan businessman said the date is not suitable for many sweater sellers as they travel for seasonal business purposes in early October. “We have to be at Ludhiana around 10 September and by October 5-6, we have to travel for our sweater selling business purposes.”
When asked about the possibility of any changes in the preliminary date, Geshi Rinzin Choedak, the Election Commissioner appointed by the Dalai Lama to assist the Chief Election Commissioner, said that they have carefully chosen the set date for the preliminary election. However, he said the Tibetan Election Commission is making extra efforts to set up election offices not only at different sweater selling areas but also at colleges and universities with over 500 people.
“Voting does not necessarily have to be at one’s place of voter registration,” he added. Stressing the importance of the voter registration, Ven. Choedak urged everyone above the age of 18 to register for the upcoming election.
The ongoing two-month registration of the upcoming election that began in June 18 will end on August 18, by which the registered lists of the voters are expected to reach the office of the Election Commission.
Dharamsala successfully concluded the voting registration, according to Tsering Phuntsok, Regional Election Commissioner in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile in Northern India. Phuntsok told VOA that a growing number of Tibetans have taken an interest in the upcoming election and are paying more attention to the electoral process. Phuntsok said the percentage of registration of voters is expected rise from 40% (8000 people) during the 2005 election to around 70% this year in Dharamsala.
Different non-governmental organizations have put efforts in raising awareness and participation in the upcoming election. Lists of profile and pictorial charts of the candidates for Kalon Tripa and Member of the Parliament can be seen along the streets of McLeod Ganj and Tsuglagkhang.
The final date for voting for the next members of Tibetan Parliament-in-exile and the Kalon Tripa will be on 20th March 2011. The next Tibetan Parliament will be the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile since the first Tibetan parliament-in-exile was formed in 1960.
The next Kalon Tripa will be the third term Kalon Tripa who will be directly elected by the exile Tibetans after the present Kalon Tripa Samdhong Rinpoche who has served for the two terms from September 2001. Kalon Tripa’s term will be five years in duration.
The election of the second Prime Minister of the Tibetan exile government is observed as a significant episode in the Tibetan democracy.