Lobsang Sangay, a research fellow at the Harvard Law School, will be the next Kalon Tripa of the Tibetan government in exile. The Chief Election Commissioner Jamphel Chosang today declared Lobsang’s victory, making him the third directly-elected Tibetan Prime Minister in exile since the direct elections were held for the first time in 2001
In a thank you message on his campaign website, Lobsang, who won the elections by a margin of more than 8600 votes ahead of the closest contender, wrote: “Your overwhelming support is humbling and I will do my utmost to live up to your expectations.”
“With profound humility I accept the Tibetan people’s support and the post of Kalon Tripa,” Lobsang said, adding “It is sobering to realize that nearly 50,000 people in over 30 countries voted in the recent Kalon Tripa and Chitue elections.”
“I would like to sincerely thank all those who participated in the election because their participation strengthened our democracy,” he said.
“I urge every Tibetan and friends of Tibet to join me in our common cause to alleviate the suffering of Tibetans in occupied Tibet and to return His Holiness to his rightful place in the Potala Palace,” Lobsang added in his message.
Out of the 83,399 registered voters around the world, little over 49,184 (approximately 59%) voted in the elections held on March 20, 2011.
Lobsang secured 27,051 (55%) votes out of the total votes cast, leading the next two contenders Tethong Tenzin Namgyal and Tashi Wangdi by 8,646 votes and 23,878 votes respectively. Tethong got 18,405 (37.42%) and Wangdi got 3,173 (6.44%) votes out of the total votes.
In announcing the election results, the Chief Election Commissioner said the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama’s decision to formally relinquish his political authority to an elected leadership has turned the 2011 Tibetan General Elections into a historic one.
Choesang said the elections witnessed unprecedented public enthusiasm and participation both during the preliminary rounds held in October last year and during the final rounds.
Mr Choesang said Tibetans in the Nepalese capital Kathmandu could not take part in the elections, as Nepalese authorities barred them from going to polls. He, however, said votes from other parts of Nepal and from Bhutan were able to reach the EC office.
The Election Commission also announced the results of the polls for 15th Tibetan Parliament in exile.
As many as 21 new candidates, including six women, have made their fresh entry to the next parliament that will formally take over the house in June.
The Tibetan-Parliament-in-Exile comprises of 44 seats; 10 each from the three traditional provinces, two each from 5 religious traditions, including Bon, and 2 each from North America and Europe.
However, only 42 candidates are declared elected by the election commission as U-Tsang Province remained short of two members for want of required minimum number of votes.
To be elected as a member of the Tibetan parliament a candidate must at least secure 33% of the votes.
The two closest candidates Tseten Norbu from Nepal and Jigme Jungney from India, who are placed in the ninth and tenth position respectively from the Utsang Province, have failed to secure the required number of votes.
Election Commissioner Jamphel Choesang said elections would be conducted again to fill the remaining two seats for U-Tsang Province, the dates for which are yet to be finalised.