July 20, 2004
The bye-election was held on July 2, following resignation of three previously elected deputies.
Mr. Yeshi won 68.33 percent of the total votes cast from the U-Tsang constituency, while Mr. Kyab and Mr. Gonpo won 69.01 percent and 53.26 percent respectively from the Amdo constituency.
They will soon take the oath of office of the Assembly of Tibetan People's Deputies, a democratically elected legislature of the Tibetan exile community.
The Assembly consists of a total of 46 members. Of them, 43 are elected directly by the Tibetan community in exile. Refugees belonging to the three traditional provinces of Tibet, namely U-Tsang, Kham and Amdo, elect ten representatives each. The ecclesiastical communities of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith elect two members each. Three members are elected by the Tibetan communities in the west: two from Europe and one from North America. In addition, three members with distinction in the fields of art, science, literature and community service are nominated directly by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Any Tibetan who has reached the age of 25 has the right to contest elections to the Assembly. The elections are held every five years and any Tibetan who has reached the age of 18 is entitled to vote.
Sessions of the Assembly are held twice every year, with an interval of six months between the sessions.
In the case of national emergency, His Holiness can summon special session.
When the Assembly is not in session, there is a standing committee of twelve members: two members from each province, one from each religious denomination, and one direct nominee.
As well as making laws for the Tibetan exile government, deputies of the Assembly undertake periodic tours to Tibetan settlements to make an assessment of their overall conditions. On their return, they bring to the notice of the Administration any specific grievances and matters needing attention.
The Assembly was instituted in 1960 as part of His Holiness the Dalai Lama's efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration.