The budget session for the financial year 2017-2018 of the Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile began on March 14. This was the third session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament.
In his opening remarks the Speaker, Khenpo Sonam Tenphel, offered deepest gratitude and heartfelt devotion to the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama for his tireless efforts towards restoring freedom for Tibetans and peace in the world. The Speaker also expressed his hope of improvement in the situation in Tibet, with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in his second term and the recent mention of Tibet at the fifth session of China’s 12th National People’s Congress by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
On the second day, Parliament passed resolutions to mourn the demise of former members of the Tibetan parliament, Mr Namgyal Wangdu, Mr Rigzin and former Secretary Mr Ngawang Dhondup Narkyid. Also remembered was Tibetan self-immolator Tashi Rabten. A resolution was passed to express solidarity with the sufferings of Tibetans inside Tibet.
On March 18 the Tibetan Electoral Review Committee, chaired by Kalon Karma Yeshi of the Department of Finance, proposed a series of recommendations for amendments to the Tibetan electoral system. A set of amendments to more than 29 articles in the Tibetan Electoral rules and regulations was tabled together with suggestions for the Tibetan Charter.
Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay, the political head of Tibetan Government-in-exile, called for a debate on the prospects and benefits of a single general election to replace the current two-step election process.The issue was deferred to the next session at the request of Finance Minister (Kalon) Karma Yeshi, when a revised form will be submitted.
The issue of Electoral reform became a major talking point after the Kashag, led by Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay, walked out of the proceedings on March 18 because the Committee had not included a recommendation for a single phase election instead of the existing two-round system.
The 2017-18 budget session of the 16th Tibetan Parliament in exile concluded on March 25 with the legislative body of Tibetan government in exile (officially known as Central Tibetan Administration) approving a consolidated budget of INR 2,43,98,02,997 ($37.48 million / £29.8 million) for the next fiscal year.