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TCHRD holds roundtable discussion on improving Tibetan democracy

event picThe Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) organised a two-day roundtable discussion among 40 Tibetan researchers, educators, legal experts, NGO workers, independent activists, university students, as well as monks and nuns on 23 and 24 June in Dharamsala, India.

The two-day event called ‘Reflections on the 2016 Tibetan Election: Roundtable Discussions on Improving Tibetan Democracy’ largely focused on the 2016 exile Tibetan election for Sikyong and the Tibetan Parliament in-Exile that concluded last March. The topics discussed at the five roundtables were 1) The Good and the Bad of 2016 Election Campaign and Suggested Changes to Election Process; 2) Strengths, Weaknesses and Limitations of Tibetan Democracy; and 3) The Electoral Rules & Regulations and Professionalizing Election Commission Staff.

Much had been discussed and written about the positive and negative aspects of the last election. TCHRD believes that the two-day roundtable discussion provided a space for a more sober and balanced discussion on the election process and the Tibetan democratic system in general. At the end of the two-day discussion, a list of recommendations was drawn on creating a resilient and mature democratic system. The discussion was facilitated by TCHRD’s research associate Mr Tenzin Phuntsok and the minutes of the discussion were recorded in Tibetan and English respectively by senior researcher Mr Tsering Gyel and field officer Ms Sonam Dolkar.

On 15 July, TCHRD will submit the list of recommendations to the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, the Kashag Secretariat, the Election Commission, the Tibetan parliamentary secretariat, NGOs, media and other exile Tibetan institutions. TCHRD is hopeful that the recommendations will be raised and discussed at the parliament session in September and will contribute to the initiative of reforming the Tibetan electoral process and Tibetan democracy.

TCHRD lauds the initiative taken by the Tibetan parliament-in-Exile (TPiE) to reform the electoral process. Following a resolution passed during its March session, the TPiE set up a five-member committee on 14 June to amend the electoral regulation. The committee began its duty on 20 June and in a 24 June announcement invited suggestions from the Tibetan public. The suggestions must be submitted to the Tibetan parliamentary secretariat with the signature and address of the person before 5:00 pm local time on 31 August 2016. The committee also added that the suggestions should focus on two subjects, 1) Amendments in the Tibetan electoral rules and regulation keeping in mind the difficulties faced during the recent election for Sikyong and Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. 2) Requirement of individuals or organisations to propose nominees for Sikyong and Tibetan parliamentary elections in future.

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