Friday, May 20, 2011

Charter Redrafting Committee Report and the Kalon Tripa

Old Article in the Charter for Tibetans in Exile

New Article in the proposal:
Title: Article 21 - Election of Kalon Tripa
"In accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Election Commission, finalized by the Tibetan Parliament in-Exile, the Kalon Tripa shall be elected by the Tibetan people via the general election. Tibetan people shall have the right to exercise their vote and the elected Kalon Tripa shall accept the position".

This is not a perfect translation from the original Tibetan version. However, the essence of what I will be trying to communicate shall be good enough from the above not-so-good but doable translation.

Earlier, I was in the belief that everything on Kalon Tripa's election comes under the purview of the Tibetan Election Commission's specific rules and regulations. I did communicate with the current Chief Election Commissioner a while ago on the same matter that I will be focusing below. However, with this new proposal in the charter, I see a new hope in bringing a fundamental change in the Kalon Tripa's future election.

In the past three Kalon Tripa's election, all elected Kalon Tripa received a simple majority (i.e., 51%  of the total votes casted). We can democratically say, "Kalon Tripa is a choice of the Tibetan people". However, if we wish to continue to say this, I see a need for change in the report.

While skimming the report, I sensed a conflict in the Kalon Tripa's administration i.e., a conflict to consider it as a prime ministerial style of administration or presidential style of administration. If my perspectives on the report are correct, I sensed that when it comes to responsibility, Kalon Tripa tends to lean more towards prime ministerial style of administration. However, when it comes to power, Kalon Tripa tends to lean more toward presidential style of administration.

Coming back to the election of Kalon Tripa, the new article in the report doesn't align well with either prime ministerial style of government or presidential style of government. For instance, in India, a coalition party, to form a government headed by Prime Minister, needs to win the general election with a simple majority in the house of parliament. In the United States, a presidential candidate needs a simple majority in the primary election to win the presidential post. However, very strangely, Kalon Tripa needs no simple majority to win a general election (Simple majority = 51% of the total votes casted).

Now, let me put it in another way with an example. Election Commission announces six candidates for the Kalon Tripa's final election based on the results of preliminary election. All six candidates stand for the final election. Candidate A receives 20% of the total votes casted, candidate B-18%, candidate C-12%, candidate D-19%, candidate E-23%, and candidate F-8%. Under the present charter (and rules and regulations of the EC), in this scenario, candidate E wins the Kalon Tripa election with a mere 23 percentage of the total votes casted. Now, is Kalon Tripa a choice of the Tibetan people? Can Kalon Tripa be a choice of the majority? Isn't majority of voices the voice of democracy? There are many more questions to ask about. For me, this is fundamentally unacceptable.

Some believe that if Kalon Tripa fails to receive a simple majority, then, the whole re-election is a pain. Since Tibetans directly elect Kalon Tripa, I did a little research on the presidential election of the United States and I really liked it. There is a no need for re-election. In the United States, if no presidential candidate receives a majority of electoral votes (i.e. 51%), the House of Representatives elects the President from the 3 presidential candidates who received the most electoral votes. Each State delegation has one vote. In our case, it could be members of the parliament.

Therefore, what I wish to see in the new proposed article in the report is something that ties the election of Kalon Tripa with the need of a simple majority of the total votes casted in the general election.

Again, I may be wrong. Please feel free to correct me. I highly encourage everyone to at least read the report once. If time permits, I will be rereading it again and will jump in with a note if I found anything to discuss with you. Lets make our charter a charter of the people. :)

*To read my earlier note on the same report, go to this link

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Three Things to Think About in the Charter Redrafting Committee Report

Following are three things in the report, submitted by the Charter Redrafting Committee to the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, that failed to pass the thread of my logic:

Tenure of Kalon Tripa

The committee proposed a change in the tenure of Kalon Tripa from the present restriction of no more than two consecutive terms to no tenure restriction. I do not understand why the committee proposed this change that goes against leadership principles of many great democratic constitution. Tibetans do not and will not wish for a leader like Egypt's Mubarak to rule for more than thirty years. I believe the present restriction of no more than two consecutive terms stay well with the logic of "Change" and "New Administration" for the Central Tibetan Administration. However, it may be right to have no tenure restrictions on individual Kalons if Kalon Tripa decides to nominate him or her in the Kashag.

Approval of New Kalons

Earlier, New Kalons, nominated by Kalon Tripa,  have to have a simple majority from members of the parliament to induct him or her in the new Kashag. However, the current proposal from the committee withdrew the need of an approval for nominated Kalons from the TPiE. The present proposal seems to give all power to the elected Kalon Tripa to form his Kashag without any debate or discussion on new Kalons. First, this change seems to lack the logic of check and balance in a democratically formed administration. Second, God forbid, in case if Tibetan elects a wrong Kalon Tripa, then, the whole Kashag will be wrong too. That will be a huge blow to the Tibetan struggle as well as exile administration.

Relinquishing Kalon Post

Under the current proposal, an individual Kalon has to resign if asked to by the Kalon Tripa. This proposal will make all Kalons as Chelas to Kalon Tripa and will definitely hinder the debate, discussion, and decision of the Kashag. In any public administration, a power should not be vested in one individual. Instead, it should be democratically aligned over top people in the administration. Therefore, to relinquish any Kalon from the Kashag, I feel it should not be only Kalon Tripa but the Kashag who should forward it to TPiE for two-third majority to relinquish any Kalon from the Kashag.

These three caught my eye in the report. There may be many. Feel free to drop in. Also, feel free to correct me if I am wrong here.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Life is a million dots...

My life is a million dots
Dots that are spread out
Spread out in East and West
West is the dream
Dream that embraces individualism
Individualism outpace collectivism
Collectivism is/was my root
Root that received minimal waters
Waters no more quench my thirst
Thirst leads me nowhere
Nowhere seems the destination
Destination that lies in the cloud
Cloud, when will you burst?
Burst is all you can do to quench
Quench, is that what I want?
Want is where I lose my dots
Dots that fail to connect
Connecting the dots is my dream
Dream that may end my hope
Hope is all I owned by birth
Birth itself created the first dot
Dot that says I am a born refugee
Refugee, am I?
I prefer a Stateless
Stateless is a state of mind
Mind that keeps creating more dots
Dots seem my only possession
Possession no one likes to own
Ownership of dots: beautiful or ugly
Ugly except on a pointillist's painting
Painting is what I closely relate
Relationship of Tibetan and others
Others admire you on the wall
Wall that restricts human touch
Touch believes to spoil the painting
Painting that is rarely admired
Admiration comes the most
Most when the artist dies
Dying, is that when the dots will connect?
Connect, connect, connect...
Connecting the dots
Dots are my life
Life on a pointillist's painting
Painting that continues to….