Belgium: Tibetans in Belgium, the Netherlands, France and Spain exercised their franchise for the final round of the general Tibetan election of Sikyong and Chithue on Sunday, 11 April. Given that it took place in the third lockdown in the region in itself is an amazing feat.
Once again Tibetans in Belgium cast their votes most freely, openly and lawfully. This has been possible because of the written permissions that were obtained from six communes in which elections were held: Antwerp, Brussels, Leuven, Ostende, Brugge and Ghent.
Taking a leaf from the preliminary election, the election committees – especially Ms Rigzin Choedon Ghenkhang and Mr Phurbu Dhondup – applied for permission two months ahead. However, it was once again a nail-biting experience as Antwerp gave approval almost at the last minute on Wednesday, 7 April.
The situation in France was more grave as It was under the strictest lockdown of the pandemic. Mr Namgyal Samdup, Coordinator, Bureau du Tibet and the committee members rose to the challenge. The Office gave prior information to the relevant offices in Paris about the impending elections. Necessary internal travel documents as per lockdown rules were issued by Bureau du Tibet to the voters which then made the final elections possible.
The Committees in the Netherlands and Spain too took their responsibilities to the hilt under the dire circumstances and arranged for smooth and efficient elections.
“The greatest joy is that the Tibetans in the region have been able to vote yet again in an unprecedented pandemic period. It is indeed because of the hard work of the various committees in Belgium, Holland, France and Spain. Also largely because of the special considerations shown by the local authorities in Belgium and France. I would like to thank them all”, said Representative Tashi Phuntsok, Office of Tibet, Brussels.
– Filed by OOT, Brussels