Tibetan Exiles Vote for Dalai Lama's Replacement

The Tibetan people living in exile Monday cast their ballots in the final round of voting to elect the prime ,inister of Tibetan government in Exile and members of the 15th Tibetan Parliament, Punjab Newsline reports. The new PM will take over political leadership of the exile community following the Dalai Lama's decision to relinquish his political powers earlier this month.

The final results of the election will be announced April 27, the web site reported.

There are 56 regional Tibetan election commissions across the world. The polling was conducted in the Tibetan communities based in India, North America, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Austria, Poland, Russia, Japan, Taiwan and Australia, the web site quoted Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Jampal Choesang as saying Monday.

Lobsang Sangay, 43, who attended Harvard Law School and is currently a visiting Research Fellow at the East Asian Legal Studies Program, is the frontrunner, according to the Times of India.

Sangay got 50% of the votes in the preliminary round and is hopeful of doing well in today's election, the paper said in the introduction to a brief Q&A with the prospective leader.

"He is definitely challenging the Chinese government up front," Sangay said of the Dalai Lama's decision to reduce his political role. "They have always criticized him as a religious leader who plays politics. Now he is saying 'I am giving political power to the people and you —the communist party —are holding all the power even though you may not enjoy the mandate of the people'."