Dalai Lama to retire, make way for elected leader (Second Lead)March 10th, 2011 - 2:19 pm ICT by IANS
Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh), March 10 (IANS) Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama Thursday announced his decision to retire and devolve his “formal authority” to an elected leader while staying committed to the cause of Tibet.
At his annual address to Tibetans and the international community delivered here Thursday morning, the Dalai Lama, 75, made his retirement plans amply clear.
“As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect,” the Dalai Lama announced in his speech delivered in Tibetan.
“During the forthcoming 11th session of the 14th Tibetan parliament in exile, which begins March 14, I will formally propose that the necessary amendments be made to the Charter for Tibetans in Exile, reflecting my decision to devolve my formal authority to the elected leader,” he said.
He was addressing a gathering on the 52nd anniversary of the Tibetan national uprising.
The message from the Nobel Peace Prize winner will be read March 14, the first day of the Tibetan parliament’s budget session in Mcleodganj, 10 km from this hill town, the abode of the Dalai Lama and hundreds of exiled Tibetans.
The 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is seeking retirement from some of the activities he has been carrying out in public life in exile in the over five decades since 1959 when he arrived in India.
“Since I made my intention clear I have received repeated and earnest requests, both from within Tibet and outside, to continue to provide political leadership. My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility,” the Dalai Lama said.
“It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened. Tibetans have placed such faith and trust in me that as one among them I am committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet. I trust that gradually people will come to understand my intention, will support my decision and accordingly let it take effect.”
Sources in the Tibetan parliament-in-exile said Dalai Lama would announce retirement only from his ceremonial responsibilities as head of the government but not from his role as spiritual leader of Tibetans.
However, the exiled parliament could take six to 12 months to complete the legal formalities to accept his retirement plea, the sources said.
The sources added that the Dalai Lama could announce his retirement from nine major responsibilities.
These include signing amendments to the charter and its rules and regulations, signing of final budget document, permission for holding exiled parliament session, appointment of top functionaries in the Tibetan government-in-exile, calling for referendums, dissolving the parliament and cabinet, passing ordinances, honouring personalities and addressing the parliament.
Tibetan leaders and top monks have been urging the Dalai Lama not to retire from active public life.
Earlier also, the Dalai Lama had given indications on some occasions about his retirement plans. He has been saying that he is already in a ’semi-retirement’ phase in the last few years.
“We will get the special message of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and read it out in the Tibetan parliament-in-exile March 14. Though Dalai Lama is supposed to come to the parliament once every year, there is no possibility that he will come to read the message,” Penpa Tsering, speaker of Tibetan parliament-in-exile, told IANS.
“There is a possibility that His Holiness is likely to announce his retirement in his message. But right now, I cannot comment that from which areas he is going to take retirement. Even we are not aware about it and it would become clear only when we go through the contents of his message.”
The election for the new Tibetan parliament is to be held March 20.
Tibet’s government-in-exile will also see polls for the Kalon Tripa or prime minister March 20. MPs to the next parliament will also be elected on the same date.
“There are approximately 85,000 registered Tibetan voters who are living in exile in India. We are expecting around 45,000 to 50,000 people to cast their votes March 20. The results are likely to come out April 25,” stated Tsering.
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