Dalai to convey decision to shed pol role to Parl

Dharamsala: Having announced his retirement from active politics, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will formally convey to the Tibetan Parliament-in- Exile tomorrow his decision to devolve his "formal authority" to an elected leader of the community.

The 75-year-old spiritual leader, who has been leading the struggle for a "meaningful and genuine" autonomy to Tibet from China for the past six decades, will send a message reflecting his decision to the 14th Parliament-in-Exile which will have its last session tomorrow. He will, however, continue to be the spiritual leader of the community.

"His Holiness the Dalai Lama will send a message to the Parliament-in-Exile on Monday morning asking it to accept his decision to step down as political head. The message will be read out by Speaker Penpa Tsering," officials of the Government-in-Exile said here today.

The Dalai Lama had on Thursday announced his decision to retire as political head of Tibetan government-in-exile and to hand over his "formal authority" to a "freely-elected" leader.

However, the Parliament-in-Exile is unlikely to accept his decision as lawmakers and other top officials feel that without the Dalai Lama the Government-in-Exile would lack legitimacy.

Prime Minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile Samdhong Rinpoche says the Parliament has to look for "innovative" solutions to satisfy the aspirations of the exiled Tibetans as well as the Dalai Lama. He also made it clear that the Dalai Lama is unlikely to change his decision.

Rinpoche, a close aide of the Dalai Lama, says the spiritual leader wants to completely retire from politics as he feels that "political leadership should not be confined to one person and individual".

His close aides say the Dalai Lama wants to hand over all his political powers to the newly-elected leader of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile to prepare the community to carry on the struggle without him.

They said the Dalai Lama has been contemplating retiring from active politics for a long time and has been discussing the issue with his close aides, who are opposed to his decision.

But, the aides said the Dalai Lama is unlikely to change his decision and will ask the Parliament-in-Exile to make amendments to the Charter of Tibetans-in-Exile reflecting his decision to hand over "formal authority".

His decision comes at a time exiled Tibetans across the world will vote the next Prime Minister which may see for the first time that a lay person, rather than a monk, will assume the role.

42-year-old Lobsang Sangay, a Harvard fellow, is the leading candidate for the post.

Rinpoche also made it clear that the movement seeking "genuine autonomy" to Tibet Autonomous Region from China will neither end nor disappear after the Dalai Lama transfers his authority to an elected leader.

He said though the leadership of the Dalai Lama cannot be "substituted" by anyone, Tibetans have to find out a way to take the political leadership of the movement without his involvement.

Observers feel that Dalai Lama`s decision on the 52nd Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day reflects his desire to hand over the political role to the younger generation of the community to carry on the struggle.

But, they feel that he will will remain the spiritual leader of the community.

The Dalai Lama had been giving hints about his retirement from politics, but this is for the first time that he publicly announced his decision.