Dalai says he will serve as pure spiritual leader

Tokyo: The Dalai Lama has said that he would serve as a "pure spiritual leader" after handing over his "legitimate political authority" to Lobsang Sangay, the newly elected Prime Minister of Tibet`s government-in-exile.

"I have now decided to hand over all my legitimate political authority to the elected political leadership," the Tibetan spiritual leader said here yesterday after presiding over prayers for victims of Japan`s March 11 earthquake and tsunami at a Buddhist temple.

"That does not mean I resign from (being the) Dalai Lama," he was quoted as saying by Kyodo news agency. "I made clear the Dalai Lama institution should be (that of a) pure spiritual leader, spiritual institution."

His remarks came two days after Harvard legal scholar Lobsang Sangay was elected the new Prime Minister of Tibet`s government-in-exile in Dharamsala through votes cast by tens of thousands of Tibetans around the world.

Now conditions are "sort of right, so I now decide to hand over all my legitimate political authority to the elected political leadership," the Dalai said.

"Now the majority of them (Tibetans) understand my decision is timely," he said.

The Dalai criticised China for what he alleged the political and cultural suppression of people in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

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