The prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile called Sunday for China to engage in dialogue on autonomy for his people’s homeland, as tens of thousands of Tibetans around the world voted for new leaders of a government that Beijing does not recognize.
Buddhist monks in crimson robes lined up along with hundreds of Tibetan men and women in schools, government buildings and the courtyard of the Tsuglakhang Temple in India’s northern city of Dharmsala, where the exiled government is based, to cast their votes for prime minister and parliament.
They started to line up early Sunday, carrying their “Green Books” — passport-size booklets that record their paid taxes and are mandatory for Tibetans to be eligible to vote.
The voters stood patiently, at times for more than an hour, as they waited for their turn to mark their choices on ballot papers printed with the images of the two prime minister candidates. Elderly Tibetans carrying walking sticks and rosaries were assisted by government officials in voting.
The ballot boxes were fashioned out of painted tin boxes with hinged lids. Separate boxes were marked in Tibetan for the election of the prime minister and for parliament. It was the second election since the Dalai Lama stepped down as head of the government-in-exile in 2011 to focus on his role as the Tibetans’ spiritual leader. Some 80,000 voters were registered, and results are expected next month. Lobsang Sangay, the incumbent prime minister, arrived with his young daughter to cast his vote at a polling booth in a government building.