Dalai Lama rejects Tibetan PM-in-exile’s offer to quit

June 9th, 2009 - 2:00 pm ICT by IANS  

By Vishal Gulati
Dharamsala, June 9 (IANS) The Dalai Lama, the spiritual head of the Tibetan community, has turned down Samdhong Rinpoche’s offer to step down from the post of prime minister of the government-in-exile, sources here said Tuesday.

“The Rinpoche requested the Dalai Lama to accept his offer to quit office and initiate the process to elect the next prime minister. However, his holiness turned down the request on the plea that it would send a wrong signal to the world community,” said a source in the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The 70-year-old Rinpoche, the second most powerful leader after the Dalai Lama in the government-in-exile, was reportedly upset over differences among the cabinet ministers regarding his decision making powers and ongoing reforms.

Sources said the Rinpoche, who was elected prime minister for the second time in 2006, conveyed his feelings to the Nobel laureate before his visit to foreign countries early last month.

However, the Rinpoche said: “The move to quit the office was just to provide an opportunity to any young Tibetan leader to take on responsibly.

“It is wrong to say that I offered to step down due to difference of opinion (among cabinet colleagues). I wanted to give any young leader a chance to take charge of the sacrosanct post. I moved the proposal (to advance the election for the prime minister’s office) but it did not get unanimously approval. So it was dropped,” the Rinpoche told IANS.

The government-in-exile, which is not recognised by any country in the world, has eight cabinet ministers.

Sources said the Rinpoche convened a special meeting of his colleagues here June 7 to convey to them that his proposal to step down was declined by the Dalai Lama.

The Dalai Lama has been based in this Himachal Pradesh hill station since having fled Tibet along with several supporters in 1959. Nearly 100,000 Tibetan exiles live in India.

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