Tashi Wangdue drops out of 2021 Sikyong race

DHARAMSALA, 30 Nov: Tashi Wangdue announced Sunday that he is withdrawing his candidacy from the upcoming election for the new Sikyong (President) of the Tibetan people.

“With a heavy heart, I am announcing the withdrawal of my candidacy from the 2021 Sikyong election,” the former CEO of the Federation of Tibetan Co-operatives in India (FTCI) said.

He laid down the absence of the platform to hold extensive debates among the candidates in the run for the race and the beginning of mudslinging like that of the 2016 election as his two reasons for dropping out of the race for the top job of the Central Tibetan Administration, the exile government of the Tibetan people.

Wangdue, who unsuccessfully ran for the last election cycle in 2016 stated that “his appeals to the fourth pillar of the democracy, media, to organize public debates among the candidates couldn’t be materialized owing to many circumstances,” an exercise that he said he believes is of paramount importance in a democratic setup.

Restrictions and precautionary measures in place to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the election campaigns to go virtual. And this practice, he says has driven the political campaigns to mudslinging rather than discussions on political visions of candidates and that he doesn’t want to be part of it.

Exile Tibetans will cast their vote for the preliminary election for Sikyong and members of the 17th Tibetan Parliament on 3 January 2021 and the final election on 11 April 2021.

Wangdue is the second candidate to announce his withdrawal from the race for the 2021 Sikyong election. Ragya Tenzin dropped out of the race earlier in September.

Those in the run for 2021 Sikyong include former CTA Kalon Gyari Dolma and Lobsang Nyandak, TPIE’s Deputy Speaker Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok, Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang (Kaydor), former Speaker of TPIE Penpa Tsering, and Tashi Topgyal.

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