Monday, April 4, 2011

Proposal for changes in the Election Commission's rules book



*COPY OF AN EMAIL SENT TO EC ON APRIL 1, 2011


Election Commissioners
Central Tibetan Administration
Gangchen Kyishong
Dharamsala, India


Sub: Proposal for changes in the Election Commission's rules book.

Dear Election Commissioners,

Tashi Delek!

Being an avid follower of the 2011 Kalon Tripa (Head of the Central Tibetan Administration) and Chitues (Members of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile) preliminary and final election, I felt the obligation to share some of my personal understandings that may help draft a proposal to the Tibetan Parliament in-exile for bringing much-needed changes in the existing rules and regulations.

Following are my eight proposals. If any of these proposals seem legitimate, I hope you will put forward a proposal to the new members of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile in their upcoming first session at Dharamsala in September/October 2011.

  1. Prior to the preliminary election, a detail official announcement from the Election Commission (EC) seems essential to notify all-important dates related to the upcoming election (I know the EC did make an announcement but I am proposing for a comprehensive one). For instance, among the dates, I see a need for a "day" or "timeframe" for Tibetan organizations to nominate or endorse their candidates of Kalon Tripa or Chitue. In this election, it may be naive to negate the influence of the National Democratic Party of Tibet, Dharamsala's nomination of its three Kalon Tripa candidates, which eventually resulted in the same three candidates for the final election. These untimely organizational nominations might not be an issue if it did not lessen the chances or prospects of later candidates. Likewise, the EC should spell out a "starting date" for candidates to launch their campaigns. These two dates seem necessary to ensure fair and balanced opportunity-window for all candidates. Earlier, I wrote a personal reflection on the preliminary election (read the section on Election Commission for details on this subject). Here is the link of the piece published in the Tibetan Political Review Website October 2010 http://sites.google.com/site/tibetanpoliticalreview/project-updates/personalreflectiononthekatriprimaryelection.
  2. Election Commissioners should have an authority to delegate the task of election-result-announcement to its respective regional election officer. This delegation of authority will help resolve the issues concerning the seeping of election results from several polling regions, among other benefits.
  3. There should be an alternate provision at times of emergency such as the voting problem in Nepal and Bhutan.
  4. An open period of 60 days (from the nomination of final candidates to the final election day) was too short and thin for campaigning. The Tibetan Diaspora is unique as well as complicated with registered voters spread across many borders and oceans. Therefore, the 60 days timeslot definitely seems at least not enough for Kalon Tripa campaigning.
  5. On the day of final election, Kalon Tripa and Chitue candidates should cast their vote separately or prior to the opening of voting booth to the general public. Candidates voting with public may cause tension/distraction in the future with or among supporters.
  6. To signify a majority choice of the Tibetan electorates, a candidate should have a minimum of 51% of total votes casted to win the Kalon Tripa election. The subsequent amendment should be on the acceptance of a joint campaigning for Kalon Tripa by no more than two candidates. For instance, two candidates can form an alliance as Kalon Tripa and deputy Kalon Tripa or Kalon.
  7. There is a need for some form of “statutory declaration” for candidates to sign at the time of accepting and filing their nomination to the EC. Among the terms in the statutory declaration, there should be a pledge to disclose present (and future) campaign Websites, campaign financing, etc.
  8. Finally, the EC should distribute detail biographic information of all final candidates to the general public via fliers, social networking sites, press, media, and other appropriate mediums.

Please feel free to disregard any or all of the eight proposals if it doesn’t make sense to you. As noted earlier, I am submitting this proposal purely out of my concern for the sound growth of our nascent democracy.

I copied this email to the Tibetan Parliament in-exile’s Speaker and Deputy Speaker for information. This copy was sent not to disregard your position but to make certain that all concerned officials are well informed before you submit a proposal, in case.

You are more than welcome to write me if there is anything unclear or needs more elaboration.

Sincerely,