Tibetans and the Kalon Tripa Election: Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

I wonder whether the current “discussion” among Tibetans in Diaspora about the merits of individual names for the position of the Kalon Tripa (Chairman of the Tibetan Cabinet) is not putting the cart before the horse? I say this because even before we have any officially recognized candidates the Tibetan cyber world, at least, is full of different names. Some of the discussions are the handiwork of the different Tibetan organizations that have an interest in the issue. Some others may be at the behest of the individuals themselves who may be testing the waters.

I do not deny that there is the need for a thorough scrutiny of the individuals who aspire to be the next Kalon Tripa. But that has to come in the five months after the primary elections in October (when we will have official candidates) and before the general elections in March next year.

Right now I think there needs to be public discussion on issues rather than individuals. The Tibetan people need to discuss and have a public consensus on what we expect from the next Kalon Tripa. I have tried to raise some of the issues that need consideration by the voting public and the possible candidates.

From what I have been reading and hearing I am afraid there is an idealistic perspective of the position of the Kalon Tripa among some people. The Tibetan leadership in Diaspora does not function as a distinct state entity and its territory is virtual than physical. Therefore the leadership need of such an entity is different from the general nation states. Added to this is the critical nature of the next two decades to the Tibetan struggle.

I therefore feel there needs to be more discussions on these without bringing into the picture any individual names at this stage. I at least have been holding to this principle.

Oh! The reason why I put “discussion” in quotes in the above is because for this to be substantive, it needs to be inclusive and all encompassing. In the case of the public, the view of not just the internet savvy people but also of the vast majority of internet-challenged Tibetans who reside in the settlements that needs to be taken into account. In the case of the informal aspirants, the current discussion has not been providing a level playing field to all the names that are being bandied about. Not everyone is getting the same “TV time” which needs to be the case for the discussions to be just.


8 thoughts on “Tibetans and the Kalon Tripa Election: Putting the Cart Before the Horse?

  1. To Complain: complaining intelligently and constructively is not easy…..making unproductive snide remarks is.

    I think both the discussion of potential candidates and of the core issues has to happen simultaneously in our Party-less system with an election process that has very poor mechanisms for allowing good candidates to percolate to the top. No amount of discussion on issues and efforts to build consensus will be of any use if the rapidly approaching Primaries yield a poor candidate crop, leaving serious and better suited candidates with no means of being considered by the electorate in the final election.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Your point is taken. What I am saying is that there is an overemphasis on the aspirants with little or no attention to the task ahead. The more people talk about the issues then the better the quality of our struggle, not just on whoever is going to be the next Kalon Tripa

  2. Agreed with the overemphasis.
    But there isn’t much of a task ahead though. We are just replacing a horse to run on the same direction-Uma lam.The current debate and discussion with katripa is a good start and should be considered for chitue.

    1. I agree that the discussion is a good start. I, however, wish that the discussions are based on the reality on the ground and proceed from there. We should not end up building castles in the air.

  3. The main issue that we need to know is the manifesto of each
    candidate. It is all very well to stand for the Kalon Tripa election but it is quite another thing what motivated them to stand.
    We don’t want anyone who is standing for the election for their own self glorification nor with factional and divisional inclinations. This is
    wrong time for such motives.
    Whilst it is encouraging, hower, to see so many candidates standing for the Kalon Tripa election but any Tom, Dick or Harry would’nt do for such an important and high post. There is hardly any Tibetans in Exile who has’nt contributed for the common cause in one way another.

    1. If I understand the rules correctly, after the primary elections in October, the candidates will then have to submit their bio. I hope they use the occasion to outline their ideas then.

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