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Dalai Lama Gives Up Political Role


NEW DELHI, INDIA, March 10, 2011: The Dalai Lama announced Thursday that he would formally relinquish his political leadership role in the Tibetan exile government, a decision intended to strengthen the democratic structure of the Tibetan movement on the eve of elections to choose a new generation of political leaders.
For years, the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, has spoken of his desire to cede political authority, or “retire,” as he has sometimes put it. But in Thursday’s speech he made it official, announcing that he would propose the change during the session of the Tibetan Parliament in exile that begins next week in Dharamsala, India.
“My desire to devolve authority has nothing to do with a wish to shirk responsibility,” he said, according to a prepared text of his speech. “It is to benefit Tibetans in the long run.”
Analysts who study Tibet said the announcement did not mean the Dalai Lama would cease to be recognized as the overall leader of the Tibetan cause. He is regarded as the lone figure capable of uniting and mobilizing Tibetans inside and outside of China.
But the analysts said that by formally giving up political power, the Dalai Lama, 75, was trying to deepen the authority of the movement’s democratic government, which is based in Dharamsala. This month, Tibetan exiles are expected to elect a new prime minister.
“This is designed to give more credibility to whoever is elected,” said Tim Johnson, the author of “Tragedy in Crimson: How the Dalai Lama Conquered the World but Lost the Battle With China.

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