Dalai Lama to quit political role 03/2011

Dalai Lama to quit political role 03/2011


The Dalai Lama – the spiritual leader of Tibetans – has announced his decision to quit as political head of the Tibetan government- in-exile.

He made the announcement on Thursday, saying Tibetans needed a freely elected leader.

"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," the Dalai Lama said in an address in Dharamshala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile in northern India.

"Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect," he said.

He said he would seek an amendment allowing him to resign his political responsibilities at the next session of the exiled Tibetan parliament in March.

"My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility,' he said.

The Dalai Lama has lived in Dharamshala since fleeing Tibet following the failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

China claims Tibet has always been part of its territory, but many Tibetans say the Himalayan region was virtually independent for centuries until Chinese troops invaded in the 1950s.