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, one from North America and one from Canada. 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.