Exiled Tibetans’ grand congregation beginsMay 21st, 2011 - 2:38 pm ICT by IANS
Dharamsala, May 21 (IANS) The grand congregation of exiled Tibetans to approve constitutional amendments in the Tibetan Charter began here Saturday. The amendments will pave the way for spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to give up his political responsibilities.
The session, which was to conclude Monday, has been extended by a day following the Dalai Lama’s advice, an official said.
“On the advice of His Holiness Dalai Lama, the three-day national general meeting has been extended for a day,” Tenzin Norbu, a spokesperson for the parliamentary secretariat, told IANS Saturday.
He said the spiritual guru wants that every participant in the meeting should be given a chance to express views on the draft amendments to the Tibetan Charter (constitution) on the devolution of the Dalai Lama’s political authorities to the democratically elected Tibetan leadership.
“His Holiness wants that every one should participate in this historical session. The participants came from far-off places, they have the right to express themselves,” he added.
As many as 418 participants from 20 countries, including India, Nepal, Bhutan, the US and Europe, have converged at the Tibetan Children’s Village School in Himachal Pradesh for the session.
As the session began Saturday morning, Speaker Penpa Tsering and Kalon Tripa (prime minister) Samdhong Rinpoche addressed the participants.
Rinpoche informed the members about the final draft prepared by the five-member Charter Amendment Drafting Committee that comprises the Kalon Tripa himself.
The draft works out modalities on what all aspects of the charter that need to be amended to allow transfer of political authority from the Dalai Lama.
Tsering spoke that how the necessary amendments would be carried out.
The Dalai Lama formally announced his political retirement at the onset of the budget session March 14.
US-based Lobsang Sangay was last month elected the new Kalon Tripa. He will take charge as the new prime minister Aug 14.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who will retain his role as spiritual leader after the charter amendment, is not attending the session of exiles.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since 1959 when he fled his homeland after a failed uprising against the Communist rule. His government-in-exile is based here but is not recognised by any country.
Some 140,000 Tibetans live in exile around the world, over 100,000 of them in India.
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