By Lobsang Sangay, originally published at http://www.kalontripafortibet.org/.
With profound humility I accept the Tibetan people's support and the post of Kalon Tripa.
It is sobering to realize that nearly 50,000 people in over 30 countries voted in the recent Kalon Tripa and Chitue elections. Your overwhelming support is humbling and I will do my utmost to live up to your expectations.
I ran on a platform which surrounded the three core principles of unity, innovation and self-reliance. In keeping with that spirit, I would like to acknowledge the campaigns of the other two candidates, Trisur Tenzin Namgyal Tethong la and Kasur Tashi Wangdi la. It was a privilege to run against two extraordinary men with such distinguished records of public service. I have tremendous respect for both of them. I also want to thank Professor Samdhong Rimpoche for his steady leadership over the past ten years as our Kalon Tripa.
The recent Kalon Tripa and Tibetan parliamentary elections were by all accounts unprecedented. There was a level of enthusiasm from both the electorate and candidates that was never witnessed before. This enthusiasm was not limited to solely Tibetans in exile either. Tibetans inside Tibet followed the elections closely and I heard accounts of Tibetans lighting butter lamps, praying, and celebrating by bursting firecrackers. My heart was lifted when I even received messages of support and Khatas from Tibetans in Tibet. Outside of Tibet, Nepal interfered in our elections and disenfranchised thousands of Tibetan voters there. Still our people were not daunted. And Tibetans in over 30 countries cast their vote.
I view my election as an affirmation of the far-sighted policies of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and another important step towards the realization of his vision of a truly democratic Tibetan society. I believe the success of the recent Kalon Tripa and Chitue elections and the active participation of the Tibetans in the elections is a significant moral victory.
This campaign has been a great personal journey for me. I had a chance to visit Tibetans in many countries as well as most of the Tibetan settlements in India. I still vividly remember many of the interactions I had with fellow Tibetans while on the campaign trail. As I prepare to assume this important position of responsibility, their hopes and aspirations will continue to be at the forefront of my mind.
I am assuming leadership responsibility against the backdrop of His Holiness' magnanimous decision to devolve political authority to elected leaders. In contrast to the Jasmine revolution where people are giving up their lives to secure democracy, His Holiness' gesture demonstrates his faith in the Tibetan people. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is my inspiration and I will seek to achieve the ambitious objectives he has set for us. I take comfort in the fact that the changes we are going through are happening as per his vision and while His Holiness is healthy and available to watch over us. I am also confident that the democratic institutions and government we have in place will help sustain the Tibetan movement into the future.
I would like to sincerely thank all those who participated in the election because their participation strengthened our democracy. I want to extend my special thanks to my diligent and selfless supporters who set high standards by running a positive and constructive campaign. However, I would also like to appeal to my supporters to refrain from organizing celebration parties because the result of this election is not an individual loss or victory, but rather a mandate to shoulder the aspirations of six million Tibetans. We are already facing immense challenges including a critical situation in Ngaba and Amdo with Tibetans being killed and arrested by the Chinese government. I want to express my sincere appreciation and extend my deepest support to the people in Tibet who continue to show tremendous courage even in the most difficult of situations. Our hearts and minds are steadfastly with them.
I urge every Tibetan and friends of Tibet to join me in our common cause to alleviate the suffering of Tibetans in occupied Tibet and to return His Holiness to his rightful place in the Potala Palace.
The participation and enthusiasm we witnessed during the elections was overwhelming and I encourage everyone to continue being an active participant. The time has come for all Tibetans to take on greater responsibility. While I will do my utmost to fulfill the responsibility you have placed in me, the success of the next Kashag will depend on the engagement of all Tibetans. Together, I am confident we will march together towards a better future.