March 21, 2011

Tibet: International Observers Praise Tibetan Elections

An election observation mission including international parliamentarians and UNPO amongst other NGOs says that the Tibetan elections on March 20, 2011 were conducted in an orderly and positive way. 

Below is a press statement by International Network of Parliamentarians for Tibet:

International Parliamentarians Praise Tibetan Elections:

Calls upon the International Community to support Tibetan democratic institutions at this historic moment

21 March, 2011, Dharamsala – The International Network of Parliamentarians for Tibet (INPaT), as part of a worldwide initiative, deployed a team of experts to conduct a Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) where Tibetans yesterday [March 20, 2011] voted to elect the Kalon Tripa (Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet) and the 44 members of the 15th Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE). TEOM delegations composed of parliamentarians observed polling stations in northern and southern India in addition to nations in Europe and North America.

This preliminary statement includes reports from all the above mentioned areas.

Unfortunately, we regret that the Nepalese government refused to allow Tibetans in their country to vote, setting a worrying trend for democracy in Nepal.

INPaT was formally invited by the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) "to initiate a process of observing the final elections on the 20th of March 2011 in different parts of the world where Tibetan exiles vote for their leaders in the Cabinet and the Parliament."

INPaT TEOM praises the Tibetan people for their long standing commitment to democracy and the enthusiasm with which they embraced the elections held yesterday. It is remarkable that an exiled refugee community has been able to organize, for many decades, such an orderly managed democratic exercise.

The announcement of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to relinquish His temporal and to concentrate His time on His spiritual and religious role and the promotion of secular ethics and religious harmony in the world, makes these elections not only historic but will contribute to further developing the Tibetan institutions in exile towards the creation of a full democratic system.

We have been impressed by the way in which the organization of elections has taken place over the last months, with the serious and effective implementation of a plan to:

 -identify and register qualified voters, as shown by the fact that these elections reached the highest number ever of registered voters; 

-coordinate the setup of the electoral process in several continents which resulted in a calm and positive election day atmosphere; 

-guarantee the right of Tibetans to exercise their right to vote and to run in elections, by effectively promoting and informing eligible Tibetans to participate;

-ensure a level playing field for the candidates, both for Kalon Tripa and Parliamentary seats.

INPaT TEOM’s final report on these elections, to be issued by the end of April, will contain recommendations to the new Parliament to improve the Tibetan democratic system by reviewing the electoral laws to reflect general international standards and in particular:

-electoral financing laws and regulations;

-participation of women;

-regional voting system.

The Tibetan example of the development of democratic institutions and systems are a model for nascent democracies around the world and we encourage the international community to assist the Tibetan institutions in exile to continue to evolve and improve on their success.

We would like to thank Tibetan Government in Exile, Tibetan Parliament in Exile and the Tibetan Election Commission and all other institutions, including Tibetan NGOs for providing full understanding, cooperation and assistance to our mission, and who were very generous to accommodating us.

 

Contacts:

Mr. Matteo Mecacci, Co-Chair, INPaT TEOM - +39 347 968 2837

Senator Consiglio Di Nino, INPaT TEOM Member - +1 613 943 1454

Ms. Tsering Jampa, INPaT Secretariat Coordinator - +31 6 2900 4547

Mr. Ngawang Choephel [Drakmargyapon], INPaT TEOM Coordinator - +91 (0)78 29221250

 

NOTE:

-- 133 Members from 33 worldwide Parliaments who took part in the 5th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet (18/19 November 2009, Rome) adopted the “Rome Declaration on Tibet” which constituted the International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT).