Harvard scholar elected as new PM of Tibetans-in-exile

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Lobsang Sangay
Dharamshala, Apr 27: A Harvard scholar, 43-year-old Lobsang Sangay has been elected as the new Prime Minister of the Tibet government-in-exile on Wednesday, Apr 27.

The other candidates who were nominated for the Prime Minister post were - Tenzin Tethong and Tashi Wangdi. Lobsang Sangay won the election with 55 percent votes.

Lobsang Sangay, who is mainly popular among the young Tibetans, was born in a tea-growing area of northeast India and reportedly has never visited Tibet so far.

Election Commissioner Jamphel Choesang on Wednesday announced the results of the election in Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. Now, it seems that Dalai Lama's political functions may be assumed by Lobsang Sangay as the new PM of Tibetians in exile. The spiritual leader Dalai Lama, earlier in Mar 2011, had declared that he wanted to devolve his responsibility to an elected official.

"The Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration of His Holiness the Dalai Lama has declared Dr Lobsang Sangay as the third kalon tripa," stated the election commissioner.

The elections are the first since Dalai Lama moved to devolve power and could mark the beginning of a more radical Tibetan government in exile. Analysts say that the handover of power will give more importance to the
Prime Minister's office in the attempt to seek autonomy from China and avoid a possible vacuum in leadership in the event of Dalai Lama's death.

Who is Lobsang Sangay?

The newly-elected prime minister was born in a refugee settlement in India in 1968 and as a student in New Delhi was the leader of the Tibetan Youth Congress which demands complete independence from the Chinese occupation.

Sangay, won a Fulbright scholarship to Haravard where he earned a doctorate in law and has often engaged with Chinese scholars. He has even organised two meetings between the Dalai Lama and the Chinese scholars.

In Mar 2011, Dalai Lama said that he would relinquish the four-century old tradition of power to a leader popularly elected by the Tibetan diaspora. However, he will continue as a spiritual leader to his people.

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