Standing Committee elects two Additional Election Commissioners for the Central Election Commission
Dharamsala: Geshema Delek Wangmo, teacher of Dolma Ling Nunnery and Mr. Sonam Gyaltsen, former Tibetan Parliamentarian and the incumbent senior Professor of College for Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarah), announced as Additional Election Commissioners of the Central Election Commission today after getting unanimously elected by the members of Standing Committee at the 324th meeting of the Standing Committee of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.
As per subclause (a) of clause (2) of Article (97) as enshrined in the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, ‘As and when the Sikyong and the Tibetan Parliament elections are to be held, two Additional Election Commissioners shall be required; they will serve for the period from the announcement of the start of the election process until the declaration of the final voting results. For this purpose, the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, and the Sikyong shall together constitute an ad hoc nomination committee of three members solely for the purpose of drawing up a list of candidates numbering at least twice the number of posts to be filled. The Tibetan Parliament shall vote on the list submitted by the nomination committee and the candidates who win the majority of the votes shall be recognized as having won the election as the Additional Election Commissioners. Alternatively, the nomination committee may propose or support a proposal to vest in the Chairman of the Tibetan Public Service Commission and the Auditor General of the Central Tibetan Administration additional responsibilities as Additional Election Commissioners and they shall be so appointed if approved by the Tibetan Parliament by majority vote,’ and as per and subclause (b) of clause (2) of Article (97) as enshrined in the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, ‘In case the Additional Election Commissioners need to be appointed at a time when the Tibetan Parliament is not in session, the candidates listed by the nomination committee specified above shall be voted on by the Standing Committee of the Tibetan Parliament and the two candidates who win two-thirds of the votes of the total strength of the Standing Committee shall be appointed as the Additional Election Commissioner,‘ the ad hoc Nomination Committee, constituted by the Chief Justice Commissioner of the Tibetan Supreme Justice Commission, the Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament, and the Sikyong, submitted the list of candidates, viz., Geshema Delek Wangmo, teacher of Dolmaling Nunnery; Mr. Tenzin Dhonyoe, member of Tibetan National Sports Association (TNSA); Mr. Sonam Gyaltsen, former Tibetan Parliamentarian and the incumbent senior Professor of College for Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarah); and Dr. Choelo Thar of Men-Tse-Khang for the positions of additional election commissioners.
The members of the Standing Committee of the 16th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile unanimously elected Geshema Delek Wangmo, teacher of Dolmaling Nunnery, and Mr. Sonam Gyaltsen, former Tibetan Parliamentarian and the incumbent senior Professor of College for Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarah), as Additional Election Commissioners of the Central Election Commission at 3:20 pm on 28 July 2020.
Geshema Delek Wangmo (L) and Mr. Sonam Gyaltsen (R), newly elected additional election commissioners
Geshema Delek Wangmo was born on 6 July 1961 in Lithang, Kham, Tibet to father Mr. Ngawang Palden and mother Mrs. Choekyi. She became a nun at a very young age and received monastic vows from Tulku Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. In 1988, Geshema Delek Wangmo along with some 100 Tibetan people set off on a pilgrimage to Lhasa from Lithang doing prostration. On reaching Lhasa, they were not allowed to visit Jhoho (statue of Buddha) and other monasteries by the Chinese government. So they set off to Mount Kalash and then to India via Nepal in 1990. As per the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and under the care of Chamku Rinchen Khando, Geshema Delek Wangmo managed rented room from local Indian until the construction of Dolma Ling Nunnery. She completed five major Buddhist texts (Shungchen Kaboe Nga) from Dolma Ling Nunnery and subsequently received her Geshema Degree which is equivalent to a Ph.D. of Buddhist studies. Geshema Delek Wangmo has always been very good at studies. She has also taken various responsibilities of the nunnery while doing her education and participated in numerous scholarly debates. In 2018, she has also studied the great secret tantra (Sangchen Gyude) from Gyutoe Monastery for a year. Geshema Delek Wangmo is currently working as a teacher in Dolma Ling nunnery.
Mr. Sonam Gyaltsen was born on 23 February 1973 in Thridak, Domey province to father late Mr. Kelsang Namgyal, and Mother Mrs. Choeying Sangmo. From the age of 7, he started his primary education from a Chinese government primary school. Followed by intensive studies of various Buddhist texts. In 1993, he came to India via Nepal and studied the English language for a year at Tibetan Transit School (TTS). He then did the primary Tibetan teacher’s training from College for Higher Tibetan Studies (Sarah) for two years. Starting as a junior lecturer of Tibetan history in 1997, he has served as senior Tibetan history lecturer in 1993 and as a Professor of Tibetan History in College for Higher Tibetan Studies, Sarah since 2014. In addition to that, he is also a former member of the Local Tibetan Assembly of Dharamsala and a former Tibetan Parliament member of the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile. He is currently serving as a member of the education council and has participated in numerous Tibetologist conferences. He is also a visiting professor of the Institute of Buddhist Dialect Ladakh, Central Institute of Higher Tibetan Studies in Varanasi, Dalai Lama College, Dzongsar Shedra, and Sakya Ngor Sangchen Gyudra.