Tuesday 22 March 2011

International parliamentary group impressed by Tibetan democracy

Phayul[Monday, March 21, 2011 19:42]
By Phurbu Thinley

Dharamsala, March 21: Impressed by a remarkable enthusiasm shown by Tibetan exiles in embracing democracy over the years, an international parliamentary group Monday urged the international community to continue to give support to Tibetan democratic institutions in exile.

The International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT), as part of a worldwide initiative, deployed a team of experts to conduct a Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) in India and other parts of the world where Tibetans on Sunday went to polls to elect a new prime minister and also new members of their parliament in exile.

Early indications are that record number of Tibetan voters had turned up for for the elections that went smoothly without any hindrances, except in Nepal, where the authories refused to allow Tibetans to conduct elections.

INPaT said its delegations, composed of parliamentarians from different countries, observed polling stations in northern and southern India and also in Nepal in addition to nations in Europe and North America.

Releasing a preliminary statement on its observation about the elections, the group said they were convinced that Tibetan people, by taking active participation in democratic process over the years, have sufficiently demonstrated their “long standing commitment to democracy”.

The group also expressed hope that Tibetan democracy could also well be a role model for other communities making efforts to embrace democracy.

“INPaT TEOM praises the Tibetan people for their long standing commitment to democracy and the enthusiasm with which they embraced the elections held yesterday,” the group said in their statement released here today.

“It is remarkable that an exiled refugee community has been able to organize, for many decades, such an orderly managed democratic exercise,” the statement said of their findings.

“The Tibetan example of the development of democratic institutions and systems are a model for nascent democracies around the world and we encourage the international community to assist the Tibetan institutions in exile to continue to evolve and improve on their success,” it added.

The preliminary statement said a final report, containing findings and recommendations from all the delegations in respective polling centres, would be released by the end of April after Sunday's election results are declared by the Tibetan Election Commission.

The statement said the report would contain needed recommendations to the new Parliament to improve the Tibetan democratic system that would include “reviewing the electoral laws to reflect general international standards”.

The group further said the recommendations would also touch subjects like electoral financing laws and regulations, participation of women and regional voting system.

In Dharamsala, the base of Tibet’s government in exile in north India, the observation mission was carried out by Mr. Matteo Mecacci, a member of Italian parliament and a Co-Chair of INPaT TEOM, and Senator Consiglio Di Nino from Canada, a member of INPaT TEOM.

Briefing media persons here this morning, Mr Macacci, who is also a member of Italian parliament, said a healthy and evolving democracy in the exile Tibetan community would come handy when change comes to China.

“This is an example of an exile refugee community, a unique example that has been able to develop and to nourish democratic system not just for themselves but to make sure that when change will happen in China, and change will happen in China because China cannot continue to run a country oppressing their own people and imposing on them authoritarian rule,” Mr Macacci said.

The two parliamentarians also expressed regret over Nepal for not allowing Tibetans in the country to conduct elections, apparently under Chinese influence.

“It is totally not acceptable that they (Nepal) would abandon their commitment towards democracy as part of the families of the world. And this is strictly because they are afraid of China. They just use the weak issue of ‘One China Policy’”, Mr Di Nino said, describing Nepal’s behaviour with regard to its treatment of Tibetans as being a “kind of political prostitution”.

Urging Nepal and China to embrace democracy, the two parliamentarians, who are also veterans on election observations, said they were ready to offer advice to help move them towards democractic system.

International Network for Parliamentarians on Tibet (INPaT) was constituted in November 2009 as part of “Rome Declaration on Tibet” at the 5th World Parliamentarians Convention on Tibet in Rome, where 133 Members from 33 worldwide Parliaments who took part in it.

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