By Lobsang Tenchoe
DHARAMSALA, May 31: Members of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-exile (TPIE) took their oath of office and elected the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker yesterday on May 30, 2016.
The 16th Tibetan Parliament which bore 24 new faces took their oath of office in the Parliament before Pema Jungney, the acting speaker of the House.
The Tibetan Election Commission (EC) Mr Sonam Choephel Shosur conducted the election of the new Speaker and Deputy Speaker in the afternoon at 2 pm. The 45 members of the TPIE, comprising 10 each from three provinces of Tibet (Dotoe, Domey and U-tsang), 2 each from religious sects (Sakya, Nyingma, Kagyu, Gelug and Bon), 2 each from North America and Europe and 1 from Australasia elected the Speaker and Deputy Speaker after casting their votes in preliminary and final round of voting.
In the preliminary round, Pema Jungney secured the highest vote with 27 votes followed by Khenpo Sonam Tenphel with 23 votes, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok with 20 votes, Thupten Lungri with 18 votes and Dolma Tsering with 16 votes respectively.
The final round of voting contested among the three highest voted candidates resulted in a tie between Pema Jungney and Khenpo Sonam Tenphel securing 21 votes each and only two votes for Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok.
While counting the votes, judges and the Election Commission team noticed that one of the votes was both stamped and ticked thrice on a single ballot paper; so a lengthy debate and discussion ensued to decide whether to count or terminate the vote following which it was decided not to terminate the vote.
The final round was conducted for a second time between Pema Jungney and Khenpo Sonam Tenphel which again resulted in a tie with both the candidates securing 22 votes each. Following a meeting among the newly elected Tibetan legislators, it was decided that the two candidates will jointly serve as the Speaker of the House. Khenpo Sonam Tenphel will serve as the Speaker for the first two and half years and Pema Jungney the later part of the term.
After the preliminary round of voting for the Deputy speaker, Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok secured 38 votes in the final round and was elected for the post. The Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of the House will take their oath of office today.