Dalai Lama to step down as Tibetan political leader

The Dalai Lama reads a statement from the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile during a ceremony marking the 52nd anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising against Chinese rule, at the Tsuglakhang Temple in Mcleod Ganj, Dharamshala, on March 10, 2011. The Dalai Lama announced March 10 his plan to retire as political head of the exiled Tibetan movement, saying the time had come for his replacement by a 'freely elected' leader. The Dalai Lama, whose more significant role is as the movement's spiritual leader, said he would seek an amendment allowing him to resign his political office when the exiled Tibetan parliament meets next week. - Getty Image
(March 10, New Delhi, Sri Lanka Guardian) Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama on Thursday announced his decision to retire from active politics, saying the time had come to be succeeded by a "freely elected" leader. The 76-year-old head of the exiled Tibetan movement said he will formally propose to Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile that necessary amendments be made to reflect his decision.

"As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader elected freely by the Tibetan people to whom I can devolve power. Now we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect," he said speaking on the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

"During the forthcoming 11th session of the 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile which begins on March 14, I will formally propose that the necessary amendments be made to the Charter for Tibetans-in-Exile, reflecting my decision to devolve my formal authority to the elected leader," he said.

The Dalai Lama, who had come to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule, said, "My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility. It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run. It is not because I feel disheartened."

The Nobel Peace Prize winner said he was committed to playing his part in the "just cause" of Tibet.

He hoped that gradually people will come to understand his intention and accordingly let his decision take effect.

The Dalai Lama had earlier given hints about stepping down as the political head of the Tibetan movement.

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