Tibetans in Exile Vote for New Leader, Lawmakers

Residents of Gangchen Kyishong in Dharamsala came out in droves to cast their votes in the primary elections on Sunday, 3 October 2010/Photo by Tenzin Gyaltsen

Tibetans living in exile voted Sunday in a preliminary election for the next Kalon Tripa-prime minister - and 44 members of the parliament of their government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, India.

Organizers say turnout has been high in areas where Tibetan diaspora is concentrated. But in Nepal, armed police has confiscated ballot boxes filled with thousands of ballots from several polling stations in Kathmandu. Nearly 9,000 Tibetans have taken part in the election held in Boudha, Swayambhu and Jawalakhel, the three areas of the valley.

Vote tallies will come in from Tibetan communities around the world, so it could be weeks before the results are known. Sunday’s elections were preliminary election towards the 2011 general elections to be held next year March 20, which will decide the third directly elected Tibetan prime minister and members of the Tibetan Parliament.

An estimated 140,000 Tibetans live in exile, about 100,000 of them in India. Organizers of the elections say almost 80,000 people (79,449) have registered to vote.

Samdhong Rinposche currently is prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile. He is the second most powerful figure in the Tibetan exile community, after Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

(Report by Tsering Migmar from Dharamsala)

(Report by Gaden Tashi from Nepal)

(Report by Tsering Wangyal from Delhi)

(Report by Thupten Geleg from Europe)

(Report by Tenzin Phantok from New York)

(Report by Thonden Tharlo from Australia)

(Report by Ugyen Norbu from Toronto)