May 30, 2011
   Posted in News Flash
Published By Tashi
Parliament Amends Charter on Devolution of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Formal Authority
[Sunday, 29 May 2011, 8:02 p.m.]


DHARAMSHALA:
The 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile, after three days of intense
deliberation during its additional session, gave its stamp of approval
for the devolution of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s administrative and
political powers to the democratically elected Tibetan leaders.
The
Parliament today presented the amendments to His Holiness the Dalai
Lama for his ratification. After giving his approval, His Holiness will
fully vest the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) and in particular
its democratic leadership organs with the powers and responsibilities
formerly held jointly by him and the CTA to represent and serve the
whole people of Tibet.  
During
the additional session from 26 – 28 May, the Parliament approved a new
preamble and inherent rights and responsibilities to be assigned to His
Holiness the Dalai Lama under Article 1 of the charter. 
The
preamble underlines “safeguarding the continuity of the Central Tibetan
Administration as the legitimate governing body and representative of
the whole Tibetan people, in whom sovereignty resides”. It also
enshrines Tibet’s position as a sovereign nation from the early 2nd
century BC until the invasion by the People’s Republic of China in
1951, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s efforts in introducing
democratic reforms after coming into exile in India since 1959.
Under Article 1, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is the “Protector and Symbol of Tibet and Tibetan People”.
His
Holiness’ duties will be to provide advice and encouragement with
respect to the protection and promotion of the physical, spiritual,
ethical and cultural wellbeing of the Tibetan people, to remain engaged
in the efforts to reach a satisfactory solution to the question of
Tibet and to accomplish the cherished goals of the Tibetan people.
He
will provide suggestions in various forms to the Assembly of Tibetan
People’s Deputies and Kashag in matters of importance to the Tibetan
people, including the community and its institutions in exile, at his
own initiative or at the request of those bodies.
He
will meet with world leaders and other important individuals and bodies
to speak on behalf of the Tibetan people, to explain and discuss their
concerns and needs as well as to designate representatives and special
envoys appointed by the cabinet to serve the interests of the Tibetan
people in any part of the world.
The
powers vested with His Holiness the Dalai Lama as head of the executive
under Article 19 have been delegated to the Kalon Tripa. 
Accordingly, Kalon Tripa is empowered to approve and promulgate bills and regulations passed by the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
Other responsibilities have been devolved to the parliament and the judiciary.
Another
landmark amendment made to the charter is the annulment of Council of
Regency enshrined in Articles (31 – 35), provisions which earlier
empower the council to assume the Dalai Lama’s role in circumstances
when the latter is not acting as head of the state.  
The Parliament approved that the title of “Tibetan Government-in-Exile” be changed to “Tibetan Administration”. 
The
title of “Bod Shung Gaden Phodrang Chogle Namgyal” in the emblem was
also changed to “Denpanyi Nampar Gyalgyur Chig” (translated as Truth
will Prevail).
The
additional session of the parliament was convened against the backdrop
of a four-day national general meeting on the proposed amendment to the
charter from 21 – 24 May. 
Over
418 delegates representing Tibetans from across the world, who attended
the national meeting, unanimously approved proposals to appeal to His
Holiness to assume the role of ceremonial head of state in addition to
the Preamble and Article 1.
 
During
his meeting with the delegates a day after the meeting on 25 May, His
Holiness categorically rejected the proposal for the ceremonial head,
but gave his consent to the Preamble and inherent rights and
responsibilities to be assigned to him in Article 1. The new duties are
not binding on His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In
a letter issued to the Parliament on 27 May, His Holiness the Dalai
Lama suggested changes in the Article 1 and called for immediate
amendment to the charter.
Change ‘Watershed’ in Tibet’s History
The
Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament termed the devolution of His Holiness
the Dalai Lama’s formal authority as a watershed in Tibet’s history and
said the 14th Parliament lived up to His Holiness’ aspirations and
visions for the both short and long term benefit of Tibet and the
Tibetan people.
“The
14th Tibetan Parliament successfully carried out the democratic reforms
in accordance with the faith and confidence entrusted on our ability by
His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” Speaker Penpa Tsering said in his closing
remarks at the additional session of the Parliament.
“The
appeal made during the second national general meeting to His Holiness
the Dalai Lama to remain as the ceremonial head reflects the strong
feeling of the Tibetan people,” he said.
“On
the one hand we feel sad with the change, but our sadness is far
outweighed by the happy feeling that His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s
visions to fully democratise the Tibetan polity have been realised,” he
said.
He
applauded the Kalon Tripa, his cabinet members, and the members of the
Tibetan Parliament for their concerted efforts and responsibility
towards heralding the landmark democratic reform.
In
his address, Kalon Tripa Prof Samdhong Rinpoche said it is a matter of
great pride that a significant amendment to the Charter was made within
a short period.
Kalon Tripa said the change brings a blend of sad and happy feelings.
“We
feel happy as the long cherished aspiration of His Holiness the Dalai
Lama to hand over his political authority to the democratically elected
Tibetan leadership is fulfilled. Secondly, the Tibetan people get the
opportunity to become self-reliant and build a robust administration
when His Holiness the Dalai Lama is still amidst us in good health. So
we must not squander this precious opportunity,” Kalon Tripa said.
“The
feeling of sadness was brought about by the common appeal made by the
Tibetans to His Holiness not to devolve his political authority,” he
added.
He reiterated the Kashag’s responsibility to duly carry out the aspirations and visions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
Kalon Tripa praised the parliament speaker on how he supervised the House during the entire session on charter amendment.
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