Tibet Exile MPs Debate Dalai Lama Retirement

Tibetan parliamentarians read a printed message by the Dalai Lama during the eleventh session of the Tibetan parliament-in-exile in Dharmsala, India, Monday, March 14, 2011. The Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama Thursday said that he will give up his po

The Tibetan parliament-in-exile is debating whether to accept the Dalai Lama's resignation as its political leader.

Tibet's exiled lawmakers opened debate Tuesday in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala, where the Tibetan government-in-exile is based. Several members addressed the assembly, urging it to reject the Dalai Lama's request.

It is unclear whether the parliament ultimately will accept the Dalai Lama's retirement. It has rejected the leader's past requests, arguing that there is no replacement of equal stature.

On Monday, the 75-year-old Nobel Peace laureate sent a letter to the parliament pleading with it to accept his resignation. He said it was important to preserve continuity in the Tibetan movement while he is still alive and healthy.

The Dalai Lama, who wants autonomy for Tibet within China, has spearheaded the cause of exiled Tibetans since he fled his homeland more than half a century ago