The Tibetan Parliament in Exile
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) is the unicameral and highest legislative organ of the Central Tibetan Administration. Established and based in Dharamsala, India. The creation of this democratically elected body has been one of the major changes that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has brought about in his efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration. Today, the Parliament consists of 45 members. Ten members each from U-Tsang, Do-tod and Do-med, the three traditional provinces of Tibet, while the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith elect two members each. Five members are elected by Tibetans in the west: two from Europe, two from North and South America, and one from Australasia (Australia and Asia excluding India, Nepal and Bhutan). The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is headed by a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, who are elected by the members amongst themselves. Any Tibetan who has reached the age of 25 has the right to contest elections to the Parliament.
The elections are held every five years and any Tibetan who has reached the age of 18 is entitled to vote.Sessions of the Parliament are held twice every year, with an interval of six months between the sessions. When the Parliament is not in session, there is a standing committee of eleven members: two members from each province, one member from each religious denomination. The members of the Parliament undertake periodic tours to Tibetan settlements to make an assessment of people’s overall conditions. On their return, they bring to the notice of the administration about all the grievances and matters which need attention.The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile keeps in touch with people also through Local Parliaments established in 38 major Tibetan communities. The Charter provides for the establishment of a Local Parliament in a community having a population of not less than 160.
The Local Parliaments are scaled-down replicas of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. They keep an eye on the activities of their respective settlement/welfare officers. They also make laws for their respective communities according to the latter’s felt-needs. The laws passed by the Local Parliament must be implemented by the respective settlement/welfare officer.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile
The Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE) is the unicameral and highest legislative organ of the Central Tibetan Administration. Established and based in Dharamsala, India.
The creation of this democratically elected body has been one of the major changes that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has brought about in his efforts to introduce a democratic system of administration. Today, the Parliament consists of 44 members. Ten members each from U-Tsang, Do-tod and Do-med, the three traditional provinces of Tibet, while the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the traditional Bon faith elect two members each. Four members are elected by Tibetans in the west: two from Europe, and two from North America.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is headed by a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker, who are elected by the members amongst themselves. Any Tibetan who has reached the age of 25 has the right to contest elections to the Parliament. The elections are held every five years and any Tibetan who has reached the age of 18 is entitled to vote.
Sessions of the Parliament are held twice every year, with an interval of six months between the sessions. When the Parliament is not in session, there is a standing committee of eleven members: two members from each province, one member from each religious denomination.
The members of the Parliament undertake periodic tours to Tibetan settlements to make an assessment of people’s overall conditions. On their return, they bring to the notice of the administration about all the grievances and matters which need attention.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile keeps in touch with people also through Local Parliaments established in 38 major Tibetan communities. The Charter provides for the establishment of a Local Parliament in a community having a population of not less than 160. The Local Parliaments are scaled-down replicas of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. They keep an eye on the activities of their respective settlement/welfare officers. They also make laws for their respective communities according to the latter’s felt-needs. The laws passed by the Local Parliament must be implemented by the respective settlement/welfare officer.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama had, in fact, initiated the process of democratization in Tibet itself. In his autobiography “My Land and My People”, he recalls how he appointed a Reforms Committee of eminent citizens to redress the inequalities prevailing in Tibet at the time; but the reforms were obstructed by the Chinese invasion. In his Foreword to the constitution for Tibet drafted in 1963, the Dalai Lama stated: “Even prior to my departure from Tibet in March 1959, I had come to the conclusion that in the changing circumstances of the modern world, the system of governance in Tibet must be modified and amended so as to allow the elected representatives of the people to play a more effective role in guiding and shaping the social and economic policies of the State. I also firmly believed that this could only be done through democratic institutions based on social and economic justice.”
Before the Chinese occupation of Tibet, important decisions were taken by the Tsogdu (National Assembly), in which monks and other societal groups were represented along with the Kalons (Cabinet Minister) and other officials. Though, no direct elections were held, rather, members were selected as representatives of communities and trade groups. Thus, the Tsogdu was made up of the abbots of the three great monasteries and lay representatives of various classes and professions such as: artisans, tradesmen, soldiers and boatmen. Thus, the Tibetans had little or no experience of democratic governance when they came to India. However, one of the first pronouncements made by the Dalai Lama after arriving in India showed that he had already envisaged a process of democratization that would maintain close links with the land from which the Tibetans had been forced to flee.
In February 1960, at Bodh Gaya (where Lord Buddha achieved enlightenment), His Holiness the Dalai Lama outlined a detailed program designed to introduce the exiled Tibetans about the practice of democratic. He advised them to set up an elected body with three exile representatives each from the three provinces and one each from the four religious schools of Tibetan Buddhism. Elections were duly held and the first elected representative body in Tibetan’s history “The Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies (CTPD)” took oath on 2nd September 1960. This historic date is observed by the Tibetan exile community as Tibetan Democracy Day.
On 4th September 1960, His Holiness explained to the elected members about the importance of fully functioning polity which should be rooted in traditional values but adapted to the widely accepted modern democratic system of governance. With this end in view, His Holiness provided the agenda for the meeting. For the first time ever, a weeklong joint meeting of the elected Deputies and Cabinet Minister was held to discuss the positive aspects and the shortcomings of the existing Tibetan polity, the future course of action, the expansion of the existing departments of the Central Tibetan Administration and the appointment of civil servants. The members proposed a list of 29 names to administer the Councils for Religion, Home, Foreign Relations, and Education; the Office of Finance, Information and Security, as well as the Civil Service Commission.
However, the Commission at that time had no secretariat and the facilities for its functioning were limited. The Deputies were engaged to various departments of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) to gain an experience, while the supervision of the infant administration was entrusted to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Kalons. This practice was followed till the Fourth CTPD. The Deputies met twice each month to assess the situation and discuss important issues. The Deputies, members of the Kashag (Cabinet) and the administrative heads of the departments met as the National Working Committee once every six months to present reports and review activities. The Chairmanship was on the rotation basis among the members.
On 10th March 1961, the 2nd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, His Holiness formulated a draft constitution of Tibet; he sought views from the people and their elected representatives to suggest amendments and for the improvement.
On 10th October 1961, a synoptic version of a draft constitution was circulated among the Tibetan diaspora. Settlement Officer, the Deputies and the civil servants unanimously appreciated it and pledged to follow its provisions, which incorporated traditional Tibetan values within modern democratic norms. However, they expressed inability to accept the provisions which curtailed the powers of His Holiness.
Eventually, on 10th March 1963, His Holiness promulgated a constitution consisting of 10 chapters and 77 articles. He also made structural changes to the governmental institutions and the appointment of civil servants. The term of the elected Assembly Deputies was set at three years. It was also decided that there should be an elected Chairman and a Vice Chairman of the Commission. On 8th February 1964, rules were also framed concerning the election and terms of office for a three Gharthue (Local Assembly Members) in the larger settlements. The members were to be a representative from each of the three provinces elected directly by the people to assist the Settlement Officer in overseeing development activities.
For the Second and Third CTPD, the total strength of the elected representatives was increased from 13 to 17 with one additional seat reserved for a woman from each of the three provinces, while His Holiness began nominating an eminent Tibetan as per the new constitution.
In 1965, the role of the Deputies was enhanced when the commission was entrusted with the authority to abolish the traditional practice of appointing both monks and lay officials to each office, and to abolish the various hereditary titles and prerogatives. The CTPD restructured the rules of public service and framed new ranks and designations. By the end of the Third CTPD’s term in 1969, the Deputies had been authorized to oversee the work of the CTA’s departments. On 3rd May 1966, a separate Commission house and secretariat was set up. The Commission meets twice a month, and the presentation of bi-annual report and reviewing the meeting of the National Working Committee continued.
On 10th March 1970, the First Annual General Meeting (replacing the biannual meetings) was held in conjunction with the anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day. People’s representatives, administrators at all levels and monastic representatives participated in this meeting. This practice was followed till 1981. The first photo exhibition to showcase the achievements of the Tibetan refugees in agriculture, animal husbandry, cottage industries and religious institution was also held alongside. The Deputies held their Commission sessions, scrutinized the work reports of the CTA departments and held the Kashag responsible for lapses in redressing public grievances. The Commission, thus, acted as a bridge between the people and the CTA.During the Fourth and Fifth CTPD, His Holiness did not nominate any members in the Assembly; hence, the number of Deputies came down to 16.
In 1972, a group of public-spirited Tibetans from Varanasi approached the administration with a ten-point memorandum and sought permission to visit the settlements to rouse the Tibetan public’s support to their action plan for the cause of Tibet’s freedom. The permission was granted and in July 1972, the preliminary convention of the Tibetan Freedom Movement was held. In order to strengthen their legitimizing bond with the CTA, all Tibetans above the age of six were obliged to pay at least one rupee per month as a form of voluntary contribution. For this purpose the Tibetan Freedom Movement sub-committee, known as Bhod Rawang Denpai Legul (BRDL) was set up in each Tibetan community across the world. This formalized the commitment of the entire community-in-exile to the democratic functioning of the CTA, including their participation and responsibility for it. The members of the Tibetan Freedom Movement sub-committees replaced the Gharthue.
In 1973, during the Fifth CTPD, the Fourth Annual General Meeting was held in conjunction with the second photo exhibition. In the same year on 25th August, new rules for the recruitment, appointment and transfer of civil servants was framed and announced.
Till the Fifth CTPD, the Election Commission adopted many different ways and means to elect the Deputies of the CTPD. In 1974, the election system was reviewed and positive elements from the Indian electoral system were incorporated. On 21st November 1974, a new set of electoral rules was put into the place; it includes the seats reservation for women in CTPD.
Till 1975, the Kashag was fully responsible for the budget of the departments and there was no financial accountability to the CTPD. In 1975, new rules were framed regarding the control of the CTA’s budget. It was decided that the income and expenditure of all the departments of the CTA should be approved and sanctioned during the annual meeting of the National Working Committee chaired by the Chairman of CTPD. In the same year, during the National Annual General Meeting, it was decided that the 2nd day of September should be commemorated annually as the founding day of Tibetan Democracy and declared a national holiday.
In 1977, during the 8th Annual General Meeting, the 3rd Photo Exhibition of the Tibetan diaspora was held. In the same year, the budget session was held on 1st February for the coming financial year which starts from 1st of April every year. On 5th October 1977, In addition to the four Tibetan Buddhist schools, followers of the Bon religion also came to have a separate Deputy, hence, the strength of Deputies were increased to 17 during the 6th and 7th CTPD.
In 1979, the term of the Cabinet Ministers was fixed for 5 years, and His Holiness was entrusted to appoint or dismiss any of the Cabinet Ministers. At the time of the 6th CTPD session, the Commission of Tibetan People’s Deputies (CTPD) was renamed as the Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD).
It was decided during the Annual General Meeting of 1981 that this meeting would now be held once every two years rather than annually.
Since 1974, the Tibetan Youth Congress has been carrying out a persistent campaign, urging that the Deputies to the ATPD be elected by the combined electorate of all the three provinces. In 1981, the High-Level Standing Committee decided by a majority vote to hold the election to the 8th ATPD as petitioned by the Youth Congress and this was duly announced by the Election Commission. But the Do-toe public then protested that the existing system was adequate. As a result, the High-Level Standing Committee reviewed its decision and decided that a one-time voting would be held for the 8th ATPD and His Holiness would then nominate the members from the primaries.
His Holiness reduced the number of provincial Deputies to two each from three provinces and one eminent Tibetan besides the 5 Deputies from the religious traditions, which brought the total strength to 12. As entrusted, His Holiness selected all the members of the ATPD from the list determined by the primary election voting.
In 1984, the Election Commission announced the election schedule for the 9th ATPD. Again, the Do-toe public demanded for the continuance of the previous system, therefore, on the advice of His Holiness, a meeting was held under the auspices of the ATPD. The meeting was attended by representatives of the provinces, the Tibetan Youth Congress and new arrivals from Tibet. And it was decided that so long as a unanimous decision could not be reached, His Holiness should appoint the ATPD members. Also it was decided on the meeting that the term of the ATPD be increased to five years, and on 8th July 1985 it was announced and extended the term of the 8th ATPD by two years to make it five.
His Holiness nominated all the members of the 9th ATPD. That was an interim measure proposed during the National General Assembly and approved by the High Level Standing Committee that it should continue till common acceptable solution is found. The 9th ATPD lasted only for one year, as the election for the 10th ATPD was notified.
On 3rd September 1988, during His Holiness’ first audience to the 10th ATPD, His Holiness stressed that he shall not hold any state responsibility when a new government is set up in future Tibet. He also said that the members of the ATPD should be elected by the people rather than him. He further added that Tibetans should be educated about democracy and be able to shoulder more responsibilities of the government.
Again, on 6th May 1989, during the General Assembly, His Holiness the Dalai Lama emphasized the need for more democratic reforms, including the election of a head of the government. He suggested setting up a constitution drafting committee for this purpose. The leaders and the people of Tibet felt that their inherent faith in His Holiness was more democratic than any alternative arrangement that might be set up. On this basis, they pledged to undertake democratic reforms but pleaded His Holiness not to withdraw from the leadership.
His Holiness once again advised the Kashag to continue discussions on possible reforms. In August 1989, the Kashag convened a conference of 230 participants comprised by members of the ATPD, government officials, NGOs and representatives of new arrivals from Tibet. Following it, the Kashag circulated a five-point discussion paper and called for feedback on it from Tibetans both in exile and in Tibet. The five points were:1) Whether to have a Prime Minister in the existing government set up.2) Whether the Ministers should be elected or appointed as before by His Holiness.3) Whether a political party system should be introduced for government formation.4) Whether any change should be made in the number of ATPD members and their responsibilities.5) What other democratic changes could be made.
A total of 287 suggestions were received from Tibetans inside and outside of Tibet. Then, on 11th May 1990, a Special People’s Congress was called, and on the basis of suggestion received, it was decided that the ministers shall continue to be appointed by His Holiness; however, the elected ATPD members no longer required approval from His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Also, on that day, the Kashag and the ATPD were declared dissolved. His Holiness directed participants in the Special Congress to elect an interim Kashag, to hold office until the proclamation of a new charter.
The interregnum period was from 12th May 1990 to 28th May 1991. During this period, His Holiness appointed a Constitution Review Committee with instructions to draft a democratic charter for the Tibetans in exile and also to review the existing draft constitution for future Tibet. The draft charter for the Tibetans in exile was to incorporate well defined provisions based on the realities of the situation in exile although His Holiness agreed to be the head of the state and government owing to the prevailing circumstances. But he emphasized that when a truly democratic system is achieve in Tibetan society then His Holiness would no longer hold any official responsibility or political designation.
The charter drafting committee consulted a number of Tibetan and non-Tibetan experts and scholars and came out with a documents which reflected the above directives.
The draft charter was based on: the draft constitution of 1963, the Five Point Peace Plan of 1987, His Holiness’s address to the European Parliament in 1988, and his addresses to the 10th ATPD in 1988, the 16th General Assembly in 1989, and the Special Congress in 1990.
In the years that followed, the community in exile showed extreme reluctance to accept the Dalai Lama’s directives suggesting limits on his powers. However, in 1990, thirty years after initiating the democratic process, the Dalai Lama announced a dramatic change, empowering the parliament to conform the established norms of democracy.
His Holiness address on 11th May 1990 to the Deputies attending the 10th session of the ATPD, and other eminent Tibetans, that he is renouncing the supreme authority vested in him to approve the members of the Assembly and to supervise its functioning. Further, His Holiness went on to outline proposals for expanding the membership of the assembly, electing Kalons, who were not the members of the Assembly, for giving more representation to women, and on the advisability of setting up two Houses of the legislature. He spoke on the need for a judicial tribunal to look into the people’s complaints and also on other requirements of a fully functioning democracy. The future administration was thus projected as a fully democratic government capable of shouldering greater responsibilities.
On 29th May 1991, the Dalai Lama addressed the 11th ATPD on the outcome of his epochal pronouncement of the previous year. The membership of the Assembly had risen from 12 to 46, which represented from all sections of the society. 10 members each from the three traditional provinces of Tibet, namely, U-Tsang, Do-toe and Do-mey; 2 each from the four Buddhist schools and Bon; 2 from Europe, 1 from North America, and 3 nominated by His Holiness as being the head of the state.
When the Charter was adopted on 14th June 1991, it provided that a candidate needed to win at least 70% of the Assembly votes to be declared elected as Kalon. When the Assembly failed to elect the required seven Kalons, His Holiness was urged to nominate a list of not less than double the number of Kalons to be elected. The impractical provision was amended in 1993, so that seven candidates securing the highest number of votes would be declared elected as Kalons.
A Supreme Justice Commission was set up as the apex tribunal for arbitrating civil cases within the Tibetan diaspora and for interpreting the Tibetan laws. Thus, the three pillars of democracy were firmly established, ensuring a fully functioning democratic polity, with a system check and balance and accountability system. An independent Audit Commission was set up to audit the accounts of all central and local offices. An independent Public Service Commission was set-up to oversee the recruitment and maintain the records of all Tibetan public servants. To oversee the election of Kalons, members of the ATPD, Settlement Officers and Local Assembly, an independent Election Commission was set up.
The Assembly approves and sanctions the budget of the Government in exile presented by the Finance Minister. Though members could propose cuts or seek to raises on the recurring budget expenses, the planned budget for social welfare activities are generally approved without much discussion. However, the Kalons remain accountable for the utilization of the funds. The Assembly was empowered to impeach the Kashag, the Supreme Justice Commissioners, and the heads of the three independent bodies: Audit, Public Service and Election by two-third majority; and under special circumstances, even His Holiness could be impeached by a three-fourth majority vote of the Assembly.
On 16th September 1998, His Holiness proposed further reforms to the election of Kalons, citing dissatisfaction on his part in finding suitable candidates. He also said the existing process was inadequate and did not fulfill the norms of real democracy. He suggested that a Kalon Tripa be elected by the Assembly from a list of three nominees by him. The elected Kalon Tripa was then to nominate at least 14 candidates for the Assembly to vote on to elect his ministerial colleagues. The other option proposed was for the Kalons to be elected by an electorate consisting of the Assembly members, all civil servants above the rank of Deputy Secretary, members of the Local Assemblies, the Tibetan Freedom Movement Sub-Committee members and representatives of NGOs. The candidate with the maximum number of votes could be the Chief Kalon, or the elected Kalons could vote for Kalon Tripa among themselves.
These proposals were thoroughly discussed in the Assembly and seek suggestions from the public. On 3rd October 2000, His Holiness approved the amendment of the Charter regarding the election of the Kalong Tripa and the other Kalons. Under it, the Assembly would elect the Kalon Tripa from a list of not less than two members provided by His Holiness and the Kalon Tripa would nominate his ministerial colleagues, subject to approval or rejection by the Assembly by a simple majority vote. The Kalon Tripa could appoint a maximum of seven Kalon.
However, sensing that the latest amendment may need to be further amended sooner or later, His Holiness suggested that the Kalon Tripa be directly elected by the people. In his landmark address to the last session of the 12th ATPD, on 15th March 2001, he referred to the latest amendment and said that the process had brought the system closer to the essence of democracy. Accordingly, the Charter was amended to provide for direct election of the Kalon Tripa and for the Kalon Tripa to nominate candidates for the election of his ministerial colleagues. This was another significant milestone in the democratic reform of the Tibetan polity.
The 13th ATPD formally began with the opening of its first session on 31st May 2001. The direct election of the Kalon Tripa, the Chief Executive of the Central Tibetan Administration, in 2001 was the most significant democratic development during its term. The Assembly approved far reaching policies of the Kashag on a negotiated solution to the Tibet issue, the new education policy, privatization of businesses, organic and natural farming policy in the settlements and better functioning of the Tibetan cooperatives, etc. The 12th Kashag brought in a new sense of accountability and transparency to the Assembly. The financial status of the Central Tibetan Administration was made public and the funds earmarked for social welfare were placed under complete control of the Assembly.
In September 2003, His Holiness pushed further reforms to give up the last vestiges of his administrative power. He suggested that he no longer make direct nominations to the Assembly, or directly appoint the heads of the three independent institutions of Audit, Public Service and Election Commission, or nominate the Supreme Justice Commissioners. The commissions were placed under a common head in view of their limited workload under the current situation.
Regarding these, the Assembly amended the relevant articles of the Charter, leaving it open for His Holiness to decide whether to nominate up to three eminent Tibetans to the Assembly. Selection committees were to be formed for the appointment of the Supreme Justice Commissioners and the heads of the three independent institutions.
The five year term of the 13th ATPD ended on May 30, 2006 and the 14th was constituted on May 31, 2006 till May 30, 2011. The 14th Assembly began with having no direct nominee from the Dalai Lama, so therefore, its strength became 43. Also the Assembly formally changed its name from Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD) to Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPiE), and the Chairman’s title to that of Speaker and Vice Chairman to Deputy Speaker.
The 14th TPiE began with a constitutional crisis owing to its inability to elect a Speaker. Despite repeated polling, Do-Mey provincial representative Mr. Penpa Tsering and U-Tsang representative Mr. Karma Choephel kept getting identical number of votes. The impasse was finally resolved with guidance from Chief Election Commissioner, despite the absence of such provision in the Charter, it was suggested to share the speakership between the two candidates for two and half years each.
The 14th TPiE took an important decision to allocate area/zonal responsibilities to the MPs for the purpose of ensuring the well-being of the Tibetan people residing in them. After touring their respective zones, they have to submit their reports to the TPiE’s Standing Committee, which, after careful consideration, refer to the Kashag for action through the concerned Ministries and Departments.
The most historic event took place when on 10th March 2011, during the 52nd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has announced about his retirement from the political position. He said, “During the forthcoming eleventh session of the fourteenth Tibetan Parliament in Exile, which begins on 14th March, 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.”
“As early as the 1960s, I repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I could devolve power. Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect…. 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. 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, so 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,” said His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Following two days of debate in the Tibetan–parliament–in exile, the resolution was passed by a majority of 37 to 1, with five members being on leaves of absence. It asked the Dalai Lama to continue to be both the temporal and spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, saying his leadership was pre-eminently democratic and there was no better alternative to it. However, on 19th March 2011, His Holiness had rejected a resolution passed by the exile Tibetan parliament and reiterated what he has stated in his letter to the Parliament on 14th March 2011, to carry out the necessary constitutional and other sweeping amendments to effectuate it.
Also on May 25, 2011, His Holiness rejected a unanimous request from all the 418 delegates to the second Tibetan National General Meeting, held at Dharamsala from May 21 to 24, that he remain a ceremonial head of the exile Tibetan administration. He did, however, agree to being enshrined as the protector and symbol of the Tibetan nation in a new Preamble and Article 1 of the Charter of Tibetans in Exile.
His Holiness wanted full democratization to carried out while he was still available to help resolve any problems that may arise along the way, that the decision was a culmination of a reform process he had initiated back in Tibet before 1959, and he said many times that there is no room for kings and religious rulers in today’s age of progress toward full democracy. Thus, without any option, the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile reluctantly agreed to make necessary changes in the Charter.
On 27th April 2011, the Chief Election Commissioner of the Central Tibetan Administration, Mr. Jamphel Choesang announces new members of the 15th TPiE and Dr. Lobsang Sangay as the Chief of the Cabinet (Kalon Tripa) of CTA in an election held on 20th March 2011, in exile Tibetan community all over the world. The term of the 15th TPiE is from the year 2011 to 2016.
The Charter of the Tibetans-in-Exile is the supreme law governing the functions of the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA). It was drafted by the Constitution Redrafting Committee, instituted by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1990. The draft of the Charter, containing 108 Articles, was widely circulated by the Committee in early 1991 to elicit feedback and suggestions. The Committee then drafted the final Charter, which was submitted to the Eleventh Assembly of Tibetan People’s Deputies (ATPD).
The Eleventh ATPD deliberated on the Charter and passed it unanimously on 14 July 1991. The approval of the Dalai Lama had been received on 28 June 1991.
The Charter enshrines the basic principles of democracy, with separation of powers among the three organs of the Government: Judiciary, Legislature and Executive. Before the Charter, the Central Tibetan Administration functioned roughly along the lines of the draft Democratic Constitution for Future Tibet promulgated by HH the Dalai Lama on 10th March 1963.
The salient features of the Charter incorporate non-violence, free democratic policy, respect for human rights, and the promotion of moral values while ensuring the material welfare of the Tibetan people. It also outlines the rights and responsibilities of the Tibetans in exile – including the ways to seek the resolution of the Tibet issue and how to bring happiness to the Tibetans inside Tibet. It provides for equal political rights and economic and social benefits in the exile community, including in the fields of education, culture and health.
The Charter is a comprehensive working constitution. It is modeled on similar documents in liberal democracies while being rooted in Tibetan values. The care and precision with which the rights and duties of the community-in-exile and the functions of its government are laid down constitute in the principles of a working democratic system, guaranteeing individual rights and suited to the genius of Tibet.
The Charter lays down principles for every aspects of governance for the community-in-exile and serves as a model for free Tibet. It lays down Fundamental Principles, Rights and Duties, Directive Principles of the Tibetan Administration policy, and defines the functions of the Executive, Judiciary, Legislature, administration of Tibetan settlements, the Tibetan Election Commission, Public Service Commission and Office of the Tibetan Auditor General.
Besides laying down procedures, the Charter is unique in defining the “Nature of Tibet’s Polity.” The Fundamental Principles state: “The future Tibetan Polity shall uphold the principle of non-violence and shall endeavor to be a free Social welfare State with its politics guided by the Dharma.” Dharma is clearly referred to only as an ethical code.
The Charter makes it clear that it does not promote any forms of state religion. All religious denominations are expressly assured equality before the law with the further assurance that there will be no discrimination on “grounds of birth, sex, race, religion, language, lay or ordained, social origin, rich or poor, elected position or other status.” A long list of other rights confirms the Charter’s liberal character.
The Charter does not ignore the Tibetan homeland. The administration-in-exile is directed to “maintain a just policy for the achievement of the common goal of Tibet.” It is also required to protect Tibetans in Tibet from hardships and danger. It is also directed to promote the well-being of the exiles in the settlements and to pay particular attention to education- already one of the major achievements of the Tibetan community.
The Secretariat of the Parliament works under a Parliamentary Secretary, who functions under the guidance of the Speaker and Deputy Speaker. The Secretariat undertakes the responsibility of preparing parliamentary procedures and practices, and makes arrangements for recording the formal proceedings of the House. The entire proceedings of the session are published in the forms of a New Bulletin (of about -250 pages), which is distributed to all the Settlement Officers, representatives of Local Assemblies, Tibetan Freedom Movement Committees, Tibetan media, Offices of Tibet, NGOs and Tibetan Support Communities and organizations.
- Narkyi Ngawang Dhondup
- Thupten Dawa
- Dawatsang Yeshi Gyurmey August 31, 1966 – August 03, 1968
- Gadong Tenzin Wangdak August 18, 1972 – May 27, 1974
- Drongretsang Lobsang Khedup May 28, 1974 – June 20, 1975
- Tekhang Namgyal Dorjee November 14, 1975 – December 09, 1976
- Jangtre Phuntsok Wangdue December 15, 1976 – August 01, 1993
- Deshar Tsering Dorjee November 30, 1993 – March 19, 1996
- Rangkor Ngawang Tsultrim March 20, 1996 – June 30, 2008
- Sharlho Phurbu Tsering May 19, 2008 – July 29, 2010
- Topgyal August 20, 2010 – present
Central Tibetan Administration
Dharamshala – 176215H.P.,
The Members of Parliament (MPs) after undergoing serious orientation in parliamentary procedures have shown no hesitation in executing their responsibilities. The Parliament now meets twice a year, in March and September, for about 10 to 15 days sessions, at 9:30 a.m. every morning. MPs are disciplined and are far from deferential when it comes to check the powers and responsibility of Kalons (Cabinet Ministers).
The main powers and responsibilities of the TPIE are:
- To elect the members of the Kashag (Cabinet) and to impeach any individual Kalon (Minister) or the entire Kashag
- To examine the decision of the Kashag and its administration in the light of the policies and programmes adopted by the Parliament
- To impeach the Supreme Justice Commissioners and the heads of the three autonomous bodies
- To enact laws, frame rules and regulations and issue policy decisions;
- o control and oversee the finances including the expenditure of the Central Tibetan Administration
- To liaise with Government, Parliaments, NGOs and individuals throughout the world in order to gain support for the cause of Tibet
- To streamline the functioning of the local Tibetan Assemblies in all major Tibetan settlements
- To oversee the work of Tibetan Freedom Movement sub-committees (BDRL)
- To debate issues of national and international importance as well as issues of local and individual significance
- To hear public grievances and petitions of Tibetans-in-exile;
- To monitor the aspirations and problems of the Tibetan people both in and outside Tibet by maintaining contact with them
- To play the roles of both the opposition and ruling parties under the present circumstances because maintaining effective control of the Government is not only a matter for the opposition, it is the responsibility of the Parliament
Business routine of the House is transacted in the following manners:
- Question Hour
- Calling Attention Motion
- Statements of the Kalons or individual members
- Passing of legislation;
- Voting on Grant-in-Aid and control of public finances;
- Processing of miscellaneous budget; and
- Debate on motions or statements.
For the purpose of preparing and facilitating the work of the Parliament, the members are divided on the basis of their area of specialization into various committees to undertake detailed work on behalf of the House. Thus, a major part of the work done by the Parliament is carried out by Committees. These are:
- Standing Committee
- Business Advisory Committee
- Committee on Education
- Committee on Health Care
- Committee on Human Rights and Environment
- Committee on Public Accounts
- Committee on Religious and Cultural Activities.
- Committee on Social Welfare and Settlement; and
- Select Committee on Bills
Besides raising issues of national and local importance, the members also visit the Tibetan Settlements and report the grievances of the people to the ministries concerned, thus acting as a bridge between the Central Tibetan Administration and the general public. At the local level, the members take active part in looking after the welfare of the people and initiating programs.
The present system of Parliament has matured into a responsible representative body, safeguarding the rights of the Tibetans community-in-exile, directing the Executive through open parliamentary procedures, and preparing for the future, particularly for the day when the exiles will be able to return to Tibet. As usual, the Dalai Lama has led his people in anticipating the need for clarity and realism in planning for the return. On February 26, 1992, he set forth “Guidelines for Future Tibet’s Polity and the Basic Features of the Constitution.” His vision and plans for the future are best conveyed in his own words:
“I believe that in future, Tibet should have a multi-party system of parliament, and that it should have three organs of government: Legislature, Executive and Judiciary, with a clear separation of power between them, each independent of the other and vested with equal power and authority. As I have often said, Tibet belongs to Tibetans and especially to those who are in Tibet. Therefore, Tibetans in Tibet shall bear the main responsibility in running the affairs of state. It is important that such Tibetan officials eschew all feelings of uncertainty and doubt. Instead, they should make efforts to strengthen their determination for the task of improving the quality of the future administration of Tibet and also rededicate themselves to the cause of Tibetan freedom.”As for himself, the Dalai Lama reiterated: “Personally, I have made up my mind that I will not play any role in the future government of Tibet, let alone seek the Dalai Lama’s traditional political position in the government.” To reassure Tibetans, however, he stated: “I am determined to do whatever I can for the well-being of my people… I will most likely remain a public figure who may be called on to offer advice or resolve some particularly significant and difficult problems which could not be overcome by the existing government through political mechanisms. I think I will be in a better position to serve the people as an individual outside the government.”
The Dalai Lama then outlined his views regarding the nature of the interim government to be formed when Tibet gets its freedom, emphasizing again the role of the Tibetan functionaries there. “Once Tibet regains its freedom and the repressive Chinese forces are withdrawn from Tibet, there will be a transitional period before the adoption of its Constitution. During this period the existing administration in Tibet with all its Tibetan functionaries will be retained to look after such affairs of state; as health, economy, education, culture and transport and communications. This means the Tibetan officials presently working there under the Chinese should be ready to assume full responsibilities.”
“The interim government will be headed by a President who will assume all the political powers presently held by me. The present Tibetan Government-in-exile will be considered dissolved ipso facto……”
“The principal responsibility of the transitional government will be to form a Constituent Parliament with representatives from all parts of Tibet. The Constituent Parliament, in turn will prepare Tibet’s new Constitution on the basis of various drafts prepared in exile, which will be adopted only with the assent of the interim President. Then, in accordance with the Constitution, the interim President will appoint an Election Commission, which will conduct the election of the new government.”
The guidelines describe in considerable detail the procedures for electing the future President and other officials. The principal features of the proposed Constitution are similar to those contained in the Charter of the Tibetan-in-exile adopted by the Eleventh Parliament.
The Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile is located in a township above the hill town of Dharamsala in the Dhauladhar range of the outer Himalayas in north India. The plateau of Tibet is not very far from here, but the main Himalayan range – the highest in the world – reminds the community-in-exile of the formidable obstacles barring their return to their homeland. The very name, Dharamsala, which means resting place for travellers in Hindi, is a poignant reminder that no matter how long they stay here, their home is elsewhere.
In 1959, the Government of India provided accommodation for the Dalai Lama and his immediate entourage on the forested slopes above Dharamsala. Since then, the Dalai Lama has lived in a hilltop bungalow, which is spacious but a far cry from the magnificence of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. From here he has symbolized and kept alive the exiles hopes of returning to a democratic Tibet. He has also encouraged them to educate themselves and their children to be of service to their country when they do return, and to develop institutions of parliamentary self-government for themselves and as a model for their homeland.
The process of self-government was accelerated in 1990 when the Parliament was expanded and given independent authority. It was empowered to elect the Kashag (Cabinet) consisting of seven Kalons (Ministers), who were made responsible to the Parliament. Until then, the appointment of Kalons was the exclusive prerogative of the Dalai Lama. This change has given substance to the proceedings of the Parliament, where the Kalons now find themselves defending and explaining the working of the executive before a critical Parliament. The change has had other far-reaching repercussions. The Deputies now discuss and lay down policies on issues which were formerly the preserve of the Dalai Lama and his advisers. They keep a close watch on foreign relations and on the activities of Tibetans abroad.
Though this differs from the Dalai Lama’s diplomacy in the 1980s, it is the outcome of his own continuing thrust towards full democratization. Unlike elsewhere, the democratic process in the community-in-exile is not the outcome of pressure from below. It has been planned and pursued from the beginning by the Dalai Lama himself, even though his people have demurred. On occasions they have even opposed his moves to limit his personal powers because they felt that this would reflect adversely on their total confidence in him as both their spiritual and temporal head. For him however, the process of empowering the people to rule in their own right has become a democratic imperative that extends into the future. He has declared that when the exiles are able to return to Tibet, he will renounce all temporal authority; his powers will than be taken over by an elected President.
Since the vast majority of the six million Tibetans are in Tibet, the Dalai Lama does not wish to create the impression that any particular form of government, or its officials, will be forced on Tibet when the exiles return. He has declared that the Government-in-exile will then be dissolved, and no special positions will be reserved for its officials. A transitional government will supervise the setting-up of a freely-elected Constituent Parliament which will determine the future form of government for free Tibet. The experience of those who had worked for the the Governement-in exile will be available to the new Tibet, but they would not be entitled to special privileges. The Tibetans working in various departments in Tibet under Chinese supervision have been assured that they will continue in service.
Thus, through the long years of exile, the Dalai Lama’s sense of direction has been clear and his commitment to democracy and non-violence consistent. Despite prolonged frustration, he has infused the exiles with his own confidence that they will return to Tibet. His has been a remarkable, perhaps unique, achievement. A widely-dispersed community-in-exile coming from a traditional, pre-modern background now runs its affairs openly and democratically.
There are around 130 Tibetan Settlements and communities located in different parts of India, Nepal and Bhutan, in addition to those in the West. Many Tibetans depend on farming an acre of dry land per head provided by the Government of India for their livelihood. As the population in exile increased and Tibetans set out to seek means to supplement their meager agricultural income or otherwise better means of livelihood, many took to setting up makeshift roadside seasonal, mainly winter markets in towns and cities across India to retail hosiery and other clothing products. As a result, many scattered Tibetan communities came into being. Also, the resettlement projects in Canada, Switzerland and the USA spurred the movement of a fair number of Tibetans to Western countries where living conditions were much better. Today, among the over 150,000 Tibetans in exile, about 1, 30,000 live in different parts of India, Nepal and Bhutan; rest live in the West.
The largest concentration of Tibetans outside Tibet is in South India. A Settlement Officer usually appointed by the Central Tibetan Administration, administers each settlement. Some of the Settlements have their own elected Settlement Officers and efforts are on to urge the public to elect their own administrators. Of the 47 large Settlements, 37 have elected Local Assemblies. The Settlement Officer is accountable to the Local Assembly and the Local Assembly to the people. A Settlement constitutes a cluster of camps or villages. Each camp has a camp leader who keeps in touch with the Settlement Officers, thus forming a sort of democratic pyramid.
The bigger settlements have cooperative societies to assist them economically. The people elect the Board of Directors in the Cooperative Society, members of the Local Tibetan Freedom Movement Sub-committee, members of the Local Assembly and take part in the election of the members of the Parliament-in-exile and the Kalong Tripa.
The elections of the Parliament-in-Exile, or the Kalon Tripa, are held on a single day all over the world. The far flung locations of the settlements, with some of them lacking in basic communication facilities, make the election process a daunting task. During the election of Parliament-in-Exile and Kalon Tripa, two additional Election Commissioners are appointed to assist the fulltime Chief Election Commissioner. Members of Local Election Committees are elected by the local people while the returning officers and the elections staff are appointed by the Chief Election Commissioner.
Since the community in exile has no political parties, people can elect any of the candidates from their respective provinces which they think are eligible for the Parliament. Thus, lists of the candidates are drawn up in sequence by the numbers of minimum votes they obtained from their provinces in the primary election. Subject to withdrawals, if any, remaining eligible candidates are shortlisted for the final poll by the Tibetan Election Commission.
FIRST COMMISSION OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (CTPD 1960 – 1964
NYINGMA: Karma Thupten
SAKYA: Jheshong Tsewang Tamdin
KAGYUE: Atro Rinpoche Karma Shenphen Choekyi Dawa
GELUG: Chiso Lobsang Namgyal
U-TSANG: Samkhar Tsering Wangdue, Tamshul Dhedong Wandi Dorjee, Phartsang Chukhor Kelsang Damdul
DO-TOE: Drawu Rinchen Tsering, Jangtsetsang Tsering Gonpo, Sadutsang Lobsang Nyandak
DO-MEY: Alag Trigen Jamyang (Resigned, replaced by Tongkhor Trulku Lobsang Jangchup), Gungthang Tsultrim, Gyalrong Trichu Dorjee Pelsang
SECOND COMMISSION OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (CTPD) 1964 – 1966
NOMINATED: Ratoe Chuwar Trulku
NYINGMA: Pelyul Zongna Trulku Jampel Lodoe
SAKYA: Jheshong Tsewang Tamdin –Chairman
KAGYUE: Lodoe Choedhen
GELUG: Loling Tsachag Lobsang Kyenrab
U-TSANG: Samkhar Tsering Wangdue –Vice Chairman, Ngawang Choesang, Phartsang Chukhor Kelsang Damdul, Tengring Rinchen Dolma
DO-TOE: Jagoetsang Namgyal Dorjee, Yabtsang Dechen Dolma, Sadutsang Lobsang Nyendak, Jangtsatsang Tsering Gonpo (Appointed Minister, replaced by Drawu Pon Rinchen Tsering)
DO-MEY: Kirti Jamyang Sonam, Tongkhor Trulku Lobsang Jangchup, Taklha Tsering Dolma, Kongtsa Jampa Choedak
THIRD COMMISSION OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (CTPD) 1966 – 1969
NOMINATED: Sakya Dha Damo Cha’i Khenpo
NYINGMA: Kathog Oentrul Rinpoche (Resigned, replaced by Taklung Nyima Sangpo)
SAKYA: Jheshong Tsewang Tamding –Chairman
KAGYUE: Lodoe Tharchin
GELUG: Loling Tsachag Lobsang Kyenrab
U-TSANG: Phartsang Chukhor Kalsang Dramdul –Vice Chairman, Samkhar Tsering Wangdue, Ngawang Choesang, Tengring Rinchen Dolma, Tsaphu Tsewang Rinchen
DO-TOE: Jagoetsang Namgyal Dorjee, Sadutsang Lobsang Nyendak, Yabtsang Dechen Dolma, Drawu Rinchen Tsering
DO-MEY: Alag Jigme Lhundrup, Kirti Senge, Tongkhor Trulku Lobsang Jangchup, Taktser Gawa Yangdon
FOURTH COMMISSION OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (CTPD) 1969 – 1972
NYINGMA: Taklung Nyima Sangpo –Chairman
SAKYA: Ludhing Shabdrung Jigmey Gyaltsen
KAGYUE: Drungchen Thugsey Ngawang Dechen
GELUG: Lobsang Paljor
U-TSANG: Phunrabpa Lobsang Dhargye, Jetsun Chimey, Tsaphu Tsewang Rinchen, Norbu Tsering
DO-TOE: Tsewang Trinley –Vice Chairman, Phuma Rin-Nam, Adruktsang Tamdin Choekyi, Kachen Chagzoe Thupten Gelek
DO-MEY: Alag Jigme Lhundub, Choney Phagpa Tsering, Taktser Gawa Yangdon, Gonpo Tashi
FIFTH COMMISSION OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (CTPD) 1972 – 1976
NYINGMA: Ritrul Rigzin Choegyal
SAKYA: Tsedhong Ngawang Sangpo
KAGYUE: Lodoe Tharchin
GELUG: Ghajang Lobsang Choeden
U-TSANG: Rikha Lobsang Tenzin, Drikung Genyen Choedon, Phunrab pa Lobsang Dhargye, Gonpo Dorjee
DO-TOE: Tsewang Trinley –Chairman (for two years), Bha Lakha Trulku Thupten Dorjee, Juchen Thupten Namgyal –Chairman (after Tsewang Trinley’s demise) , Dhompa Tsering Choedon
DO-MEY: Alag Jigme Lhundub–Vice Chairman, Ladrang Jigmey Gyatso, Dhuedul Trulku Lobsang Thupten, Gyalrong Barkham Tashi Kyi
SIXTH COMMISSION OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (CTPD) 1976 – 1979
NYINGMA: Tsering Gyaltsen
SAKYA: Tsedhong Ngawang Sangpo
KAGYUE: Gha Ayang Trulku
GELUG: Ghajang Lobsang Choedon
BON: Yungdrung Namgyal
U-TSANG: Phunrab pa Lobsang Dhargye –Vice Chairman, Gonshar Dorjee Damdul, Tanak Kunsang Peljor, Drikung Genyen Choedon
DO-TOE: Drawu Rinchen Tsering, Thupten Jungney, Bha Lakha Trulku Thupten Dorjee, Dhompa Tsering Choedon
DO-MEY: Alag Jigme Lhundrup –Chairman, Hortsang Lobsang Tenzin, Dekyi Dolkar, Kalden
SEVENTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 1979 – 1982
NYINGMA: Tsering Gyaltsen
SAKYA: Tsedhong Ngawang Sangpo
KAGYUE: Jharsangling Tsewang Namgyal
GELUG: Samshung Kalsang Yeshi
BON: Yungdrung Namgyal
U-TSANG: Gonshar Dorjee Damdrul –Vice Charman, Tanak Kunsang Peljor, Nubpa Choedak Gyatso, Kyidrong Ngodup Tsering,
DO-TOE: Gyari Lodoe Gyaltsen –Chairman, Lithang Athar Norbu, Chatreng Ngawang, Ga Tridhu Pon Chime Namgyal,
DO-MEY: Cheypa Lobsang Jampel, Kalden, Nangra Rigzin, Dekyi Dolkar
EIGHTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 1982 – 1987
NOMINATED: Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Gyatso
NYINGMA: Taklung Nyima Sangpo –Chairman,
SAKYA: Tritu Gyalsey Trulku
KAGYUE: Choeying Gyaltsen (Demise, replaced by Jarsang-ling Tsewang Namgyal)
GELUG: Ghajang Lobsang Choeden –Vice Chairman
BON: Jadur Sonam Sangpo
U-TSANG: Kongpo Nyang-gyal Lobsang Rabgye, Ngari Dakpa Namgyal
DO-TOE: Jaghoe-tsang Dhonyoe, Lungkhar Ngawang Tashi
DO-MEY: Bha Mangra Tenpa, Ladrang Lobsang Trinley
NINTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 1987 – 1988
NOMINATED: Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Gyatso
NYINGMA: Nubpa Choedak Gyatso –Vice Chairman
SAKYA: Jamyang Soepa
KAGYUE: Lodoe Tharchin
GELUG: Ghajang Lobsang Choeden –Chairman
BON: Jadur Sonam Sangpo
U-TSANG: Kongpo Nyang-gya Lobsang Rabgye, Gonshar Tashi Wangdue
DO-TOE: Dasur Nyisang, Jhagoe-tsang Dhonyoe
DO-MEY: Gomang Tenpa, Ladrang Soepa Gyatso
TENTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 1988 – 1990
NOMINATED: Lhagyari Trichen Namgyal Gyatso
NYINGMA: Nubpa Choedak Gyatso –Chairman
SAKYA: Pema Jungney
KAGYUE: Lodoe Tharchin
GELUG: Gomang Tenpa
BON: Jadur Sonam Sangpo
U-TSANG: Ngawang Gelek, Tsering Dhondup
DO-TOE: Tridu Pon Chime Namgyal –Vice Chairman, Dhoe Nyen Serga
DO-MEY: Kalden, Ladrang Soepa Gyatso
ELEVENTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 1991 – 1996
NOMINATED: Samdhong Trulku Lobsang Tenzin –Chairman, Khetsun Sangpo, Me-O Gonpo Tso
NYINGMA: Lingtsang Tenkyab (Resigned, replaced by Thupten Nyima), Tsering Phuntsok
SAKYA: Pema Jungney, Jamgyang Soepa
KAGYUE: Lodoe Tharchin, Kunga Tsering
GELUG: Goshar Geshe Lobsang Wangyal, Ngag-ri Yonten Phuntsok
BON: Jadur Sonam Sangpo –Vice Chairman, Dromo Geshe Namgyal Nyima
U-TSANG: Sharling Pema Dechen, Gyaltsen Namgyal Wandue, Dhingri Rachu Tsering Lhamo (Demise, replaced by Ghe-nyen Choedon), Karma Gyatso, Karma Choephel, Namkha Tenzin, Norbu Dhargye, Ngawang Gelek (Demise, replaced by Gonshar Tashi Wangdue), Nyima Dhondup, Pema Tsewang
DO-TOE: Adruk Tamdin Choekyi, Tridu Chime Namgyal (Resigned, replaced by Ugyen Topgyal), Namgchen Tsering Choedon (Demise, replaced by Pema Choejor), Lingtsang Pema Delek (Resigned but by-election withdrawn), Karze Serga, Chime Dorjee, Sonam Topgyal, Nagkhung Dorjee, Hotso Kunga Yonten, Gyari Dolma (Resigned but by-election withdrawn)
DO-MEY: Taktser Tenzin Choedon, Sharpa Tsering Dhondrup (Resigned, replaced by Tsering Peldron), Ngari Rinpoche Tenzin Choegyal, Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, Dhugkar Tsering, Gonpo Dhondup, Gomang Tenpa, Widoe Thupten Woeser, Soepa Gyatso, Kirti Tashi Dhondup
TWELFTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 1996 – 2001
NOMINATED: Thupten Lungrig –Vice Chairman, Yeshi Tseten, Changra Tharlam Dolma (Resigned, replaced by Ngawang Jampa)
NYINGMA: Tsering Phuntsok, Gyari Bhutuk
SAKYA: Pema Jungney, Guru Gyaltsen
KAGYUE: Lodoe Tharchin, Sherab Tharchin
GELUG: Ngyag-ri Yonten Phuntsok, Ghajang Tashi Gyaltsen
BON: Jadur Sonam Sangpo, Amche Kyunglung Thogmey
U-TSANG: Ngawang Lhamo, Tsering Norzom, Namgyal Wangdue, Rachu Dawa Tsering (Resigned, replaced by Lobsang Choephel), Ngawang Tenpa, Karma Choephel, Norbu Dhargye (Resigned, replaced by Gonshar Tashi Wangdue), Pema Tsewang, Yonten Gyatso, Lobsang Shastri
DO-TOE: Samdhong Trulku Lobsang Tenzin –Chairman, Sonam Topgyal, Tsultrim Tenzin, Adruk Tamdin Choekyi , Gyari Dolma, Lobsang Nyendak, Gapa Nyisang, Karze Pema Choejor (Elected to Kashag, replaced by True Lhamo), Chime Youdon, Lingtsang Tsering Dorjee
DO-MEY: Tenzin Choedon (Resigned, replaced by Lobsang Tenzin), Soepa Gyatso (Elected to Kashag, replaced by Dhunkar Tsering), Taktser Tenzin Khedup, Kriti Dolkar Lhamo, Penpa Tsering, Hortsang Jigmey, Thupten Woeser, Tsering Dolma Nyingkhu, Kalden (Demise, replaced by Tenzin Gonpo), Me-O Gonpo Tso
EUROPE: Zatul Ngawang Rigzin (Resigned, replaced by Gangshontsang Ngawang Gyaltsen), Dewatsang Trinley Choedon
NORTH AMERICA: Wangchuk Dorjee
THIRTEENTH ASSEMBLY OF TIBETAN PEOPLE’S DEPUTIES (ATPD) 2001 – 2006
NOMINATED: Ronpo Lobsang Nyendak, Lithang Wangyal, Dawa Tsering
NYINGMA: Tsering Phuntsok, Gyari Bhutuk
SAKYA: Pema Jungney –Chairman, Jamyang Trinley
KAGYUE: Sonam Damdrul, Choegyal Tenzin
GELUG: Tenzin Sherab, Pashoe Thupten Phelgye
BON: Amche Kyunglung Thogmey, Jadur Sonam Sangpo (Posted to Supreme Justice Commissioner, replaced by Yungdrung Gyaltsen)
U-TSANG: Thonsur Tsering Norzom, Ngawang Lhamo, Ngawang Tenpa, Dawa Phunkyi, Dagne Dolma Tsering, Karma Choephel –Chairman (from Sept 2001 to March 2002), Ugyen Tenzin, Lobsang Shastri, Tsering Dolma, Namgyal Wangdue
DO-TOE: Dolma Gyari –Vice Chairman, Sonam Topgyal, Trulku Ugyen Topgyal, Juchen Konchok, Tsultrim Tenzin, Lingtsang Tsering Dorjee, Chime Dorjee, Drawu Tseten, Khetsa Oga, Konchok Norbu
DO-MEY: Thupten Lungrig (elected to Kashag, replaced by Phurbu Dolma) Chairman (from June 2001 to Sept 2001), Tenzin Khedup, Hortsang Jigmey, Dhugkar Tsering, Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, Dolma Tsomo, Penpa Tsering, Tsering Tsomo, Gyalrong Dawa Tsering, Gedun Jinpa
EUROPE: Sonam Tsering Frasi, Sangling Tsering Dorjee
NORTH AMERICA: Tenzin Choeden
FOURTEENTH TIBETAN PARLIAMENT-in-EXILE (TPiE) 2006 – 2011
NYINGMA: Tsering Phuntsok (Elected to Kalon, replaced by Sonam Tenphel), Gyari Bhutuk
SAKYA: Pema Jungney, Tse-Rinpo
KAGYUE: Sonam Damdul, Karma Sherab Tharchin
GELUG: Thupten Phelgye, Beri Jigme Wangyal
BON: Monlam Tharchin, Yungdrung Gyaltsen
U-TSANG: Tseten Norbu, Dagne Dolma Tsering, Ngawang Lhamo, Karma Yeshi, Dawa Tsering, Gyalnor Tsewang, Yeshi Phuntsok, Tsering Dolma, Dawa Phunkyi, TT Karma Choephel(Speaker for the 1st half of 14th TPiE)
DO-TOE: Gyari Dolma(Deputy Speaker), Juchen Kunchok, Serta Tsultrim, Trulku Ugyen Topgyal, Sonam Topgyal, Dewatsang Dorjee Wangdue, Youdon Aukatsang, Choekyong Wangchuk, Kelsang Gyaltsen, Tsultrim Tenzin
DO-MEY: Penpa Tsering(Speaker for 2nd half of 14th TPiE), Gyalrong Dawa Tsering, Chabdak Lhamo Kyab, Tenzin Khedup, Tenzin Gonpo, Kirti Dolkar Lhamo, Phegye Dolma Tsomo, Tsering Youdon, Serta Tsultrim Woeser, Yeshi Dolma
EUROPE: Sonam Tsering Frasi, Monkhar Sonam Phuntsok
NORTH AMERICA: Tenzin Choeden
FIFTEENTH TIBETAN PARLIAMENT-in-EXILE (TPiE) 2011 – 2016
NYINGMA: Lopon Khenpo Sonam Tenphel(Deputy Speaker), Bhutuk Gyari
SAKYA: Norbu Tsering, Gazi Geshe Tse Ringpo
KAGYUE: Karma Chophel, Tenpa Yarphel
GELUG: Rongpo Lobsang Nyendak, Atruk Tseten
BON: Geshe Monlam Tharchin, Geshe Namdak Tsukphue
U-TSANG: Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Pema Jungney, Sharling Tenzin Dadon, Geshe Kelsang Dadul, Karma Yeshi, Dawa Tsering, Dagne Dolma Tsering, Bhumo Tsering, Dawa Phunkyi, Jigme Jungney
DO-TOE: Bawa Kelsang Gyaltsen, Serta Tsultrim, Juchen Kunchok Choedon, Jamyang Soepa, Youdon Ukartsang, Choekyong Wangchuk, Yangchen Dolkar, Tsultrim Tenzin, Geshe Yungdrung Gyaltsen (replaced by Lobsang Yeshi), Ghang Lhamo
DO-MEY: Penpa Tsering(Speaker), Thupten Lungrig, Dawa Tsering Gyalrong (Deceased and replaced by Tsering Youdon), Dolma Tsomo Phelgye(resigned replaced by Dr. Kherap), Dolkar Lhamo Kirti ( Replaced by Tashi Dhondup), Sonam Gyaltsen, Dolkar Kyab, Yeshi Dolma, Mogru Tenpa, Gyarig Thar
EUROPE: Thupten Wangchen, Chungdak Koren (resigned due to ill health and replaced by Wangpo Tethong)
NORTH AMERICA: Dicki Chhoyang (Elected to Kalon, replaced by Tashi Namgyal), Norbu Tsering