TIBETANS ELECT NEW EXILE PRIME MINISTER

2001-08-27
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WASHINGTON, Aug. 28 - The new prime minister of Tibet's government-in-exile called in an interview with Radio Free Asia (RFA) for greater accountability and transparency in the India-based exile cabinet and legislature. Samdhong Rinpoche, speaking to RFA's Tibetan service, also said he hoped to institute rule of law in the Tibetan exile government. Tibetan Election Commission Chairman Namgyal Dorjee announced Samdhong Rinpoche the winner Aug. 20 of an election by Tibetan exiles worldwide for the leader of a new exile government. Rinpoche, 64, secured 84.5 percent of 32,000 votes cast July 29. Samdhong Rinpoche will answer questions on RFA's Tibetan call-in program Thursday, Aug.30. "My first priority is to establish the rule of law or a genuine system of rule by law. This is my primary goal. To achieve that, the functions of the Tibetan government must be transparent and open," he said, speaking by telephone in the Uke Tibetan dialect. "Another important area that needs reform is the budget and implementation of the budget. Cuts in government spending, conduct of audits, and follow-up action all need improvements," he added. Samdhong Rinpoche said he would seek advice from Tibet?s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in choosing ministers for his cabinet. Those, he said, "should be devoid of political and economic mistakes in their life, young, devoted to public service, and untarnished by Tibetan regional and sectarian vices." He called his own election an "historic transfer of power from an administration that resembles a totalitarian administration ... to a true and genuine democracy. It is auspicious, and at the same time, it is a major challenge and heavy responsibility." Some 32,000 exiled Tibetans aged 18 and older cast votes July 29 at makeshift polling stations around the world. Samdhong Rinpoche, whose victory was widely expected, has in the past advocated Gandhi-like nonviolent resistance to Chinese rule in Tibet. He will name his own cabinet - to be confirmed by the exile parliament after it meets in full session Sept. 18 - and hold the post for five years. Previously, Tibetan prime ministers in exile were nominated by the Dalai Lama and elected by the Assembly of Tibetan Deputies. Radio Free Asia is a private, nonprofit corporation broadcasting news and information to those countries in Asia where full, accurate, and timely news reports are unavailable. Created by Congress in 1994 and incorporated in 1996, RFA aims to deliver such news reports - along with opinions an commentaries - and to provide a forum for a variety of voices and opinions. RFA currently broadcasts in Burmese, Cantonese, Khmer, Korean, Laotian, Mandarin, the Wu dialect, Vietnamese, Tibetan, and Uyghur. It adheres to the highest journalistic standards and aims to exemplify accuracy, balance, and fairness in its editorial content.

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CH. 1: MANDARIN | CANTONESE

CH. 2: VIETNAMESE | BURMESE | KOREAN

CH. 3: KHMER | LAO | UYGHUR

CH. 4: TIBETAN

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