Radio Free Asia Hosts Tibetan Exile Prime Minister Live Debate


March 11, 2011

WASHINGTON, DC – On the heels of the Dalai Lama’s announcement of his intention to hand over political leadership of the Tibetan government in exile to the next prime minister, Radio Free Asia’s (RFA) Tibetan service will host a live debate with the three final candidates vying to be elected the head (or “Kalon Tripa”) of the Central Tibetan Administration on Sunday, March 13.

The debate will be broadcast live via shortwave radio, satellite television, and webcast from 7 to 10 a.m. EDT (Sunday, March 13). This is part of RFA Tibetan’s series of seven town hall-style events being held in Tibetan exile settlements in India and featuring parliamentary candidates ahead of the March 20 general exile government elections.

At RFA’s March 13 forum, one of the three Kalon Tripa candidates – Lobsang Sangay, Kasur Tenzin Namgyal Tethong, and Tashi Wangdu – will be in Washington, with the others at two debate sites with live audiences in India: in Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government in exile, and at India’s largest Tibetan refugee settlement in the southern town of Bylakuppe.

Candidates will answer questions from RFA’s on-site moderators, as well as those from audience members in attendance, in addition to prerecorded ones from Tibetans worldwide including those living inside the Tibetan area in China.

“Through this debate, Radio Free Asia provides a means for the Tibetan exile community worldwide to participate in a unique, democratic process that will affect the future of Tibetan affairs,” said Libby Liu, President of RFA.

The debate culminates RFA Tibetan’s extensive, ongoing coverage of the March 20 elections to replace Samdhong Rinpoche, the current, outgoing Kalon Tripa. This includes:

  • Hosting one-hour programs that focus on Kalon Tripa candidates, members of the Tibetan exile parliament, and candidates vying to replace them, and the exile government political process, every week since May 2010;
  • Regularly featuring interviews with Kalon Tripa candidates;
  • Conducting the first live debate on the day of the official announcement of primary elections to choose the final Kalon Tripa candidates;
  • Providing listeners with thorough coverage of the Oct. 3 primary elections at all the major stations in India, Nepal, Australia, Europe, and North America;
  • Interviewing almost all of the candidates for the Central Tibetan Administration;
  • Holding seven town hall debates in Tibetan refugee settlements in Dharamsala and Bylakuppe; and
  • Covering all Tibetan exile candidates’ debates organized by NGOs and media in North America, Europe, and India.

The Web address for the site on which the debate can be watched is

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