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Decision on Dalai Lama's retirement likely Saturday

IANS, May 28, 2011

Dharamsala, India -- With Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama once again pressing for transition of political powers from him to an elected leadership, the Tibetan parliament-in-exile is expected to take a decision Saturday.

Ahead of a special three-day session of the parliament-in-exile from Saturday, the Dalai Lama Friday asked for an immediate decision in the matter.

"Taking into consideration the desire expressed by His Holiness, we expect to settle the issue this evening (Saturday) itself," Tenzin Norbu, a spokesperson for the parliamentary secretariat, told IANS just before the start of the three-day additional session of the parliament.

The session was specially called to find a way out to amend the Tibetan Charter (constitution) that will allow the new elected leadership to get political responsibilities, earlier vested with the Dalai Lama.

He said the Dalai Lama sent a short note Friday asking the parliament to discuss all the issues relating to it immediately.

Now there is less chance that the issue to amend the charter will be referred to the new parliament. The tenure of the present parliament is going to expire May 30 and the newly-elected parliamentarians will take oath May 30.

"I don't think so (the issue will be referred to the next parliament). This parliament and this session will definitely carry out necessary amendments to the charter," Norbu added.

As per the prevalent charter, the Dalai Lama, who is still symbolic head of the state, will endorse the amendments passed unanimously by the lawmakers.

"All the amendments that would be passed during the session would be sent to the Dalai Lama for approval. These will also be sent to him, likely tomorrow (Sunday). He can also make necessary changes, if he feels necessary," he added.

A parliament member, requesting anonymity, said the Nobel Peace Prize winner made it clear during his address to Tibetan diaspora May 25 here that "off and on he will give advice to the Tibetan government and parliament but that will not be binding on them (after the charter is amended)".

The 75-year-old Dalai Lama, the global face of the Tibetan exile movement, shocked many Tibetans March 10 by announcing that he would hand over power to the elected leadership.

It was half a century ago that the Dalai Lama, whom China brands a separatist, fled Tibet after an anti-Communist revolt in 1959. He has since headed the Tibetan government-in-exile here, which is not recognized by any country.

Around 100,000 Tibetans live in exile in India.

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