Brussels, September 9, 2016
The Final Report of the 2016 Tibetan Election Observation Mission (TEOM) was released today in Brussels during the Tibet Support Group Conference.
The Final Report was presented by Hon. Thomas Mann, Member of the European Parliament, Chair of the TEOM and Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet and former Member of the Italian Parliament. The report was distributed to over 300 participants from all over the world.
While releasing the report, Thomas Mann said:
“With these elections for both Parliament and the Sikyong (political leader), the Tibetan communities in exile have once again shown their strong support and participation in democratic practice and institutions, which sadly continue to denied to the Tibetans in Tibet by the Chinese government.”
“We offer this report and the recommendation it contains – based on accepted international democratic standards – both to the Tibetans and to the international community. It is essential to continue to support an effort that represents an effective contribution and example of democratic development that Chinese authorities should consider seriously”.
The report contains an analysis of both the election campaign and of election framework adopted by Tibetan institutions in exile and comments about their compliance with international democratic standards. It also offers to the Tibetan Election Commission and the Tibetan Parliament in exile a number of recommendations to improve the electoral process.”
Matteo Mecacci, President of the International Campaign for Tibet said” “Tibetans in exiles continue to progress on their path towards democracy, a journey that began decades ago, thanks in particular to the visionary leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. There are not many communities in exile who practice nonviolent and peaceful activism in a consistent way such as the Tibetans have done and continue to do. This democratic process is a model that the international community should fully endorse and highlight as an alternative to the violent political struggles that plague all continents”.
The 2016 TEOM was composed by Thomas Mann (MEP), Chair of TEOM, (Germany) Norman Baker, former MP, President, UK Tibet Society (UK) Consiglio Di Nino, former Senator, Chair Canada Tibet Committee , (Canada), Andre’ Gattolin, Senator, (France), Lisa Singh, Senator, (Australia), Anna Ferencz Zsuza, MEP Assistant, (Hungary), Matteo Mecacci, former Italian MP, President ICT, (Italy) Bhuchung Tsering, Vice President ICT.
Following are some of the observations and recommendations contained in the report:
- Recognizing the unique challenge of organizing elections for a diverse population that is located in dispersed geographical locations, the electoral legal framework and the election regulations as propounded are generally in line with international standards and best practices for democratic elections. However, there are several areas that can be improved upon through consideration and implementation of the recommendations made in this report.
- Recognizing the difficulty in achieving equality among the diverse constituencies represented by the Tibetans-in-Exile given the fact that the voting population is located in many different regions and countries, the regulations should still address the issues of equality of the vote and boundary delimitation to ensure as much as possible that each vote has equal weight.
- Since the unique system of borderless democracy adopted in exile involves the participation of Tibetans who are scattered over 30 countries, with unique logistical challenges, the TEOM feels that a system of postal voting should be studied and then implemented by the CEC to ensure that all those who wish to cast their votes are effectively able to do so.
- The Election Rules and Regulations should be thoroughly reviewed in order to reflect the developments that have taken place both in the Tibetan community abroad and in the international community. This includes reducing the time gap between the primary and the final elections and clearly defining the number of candidates allowed for the final Sikyong elections.
- In light of the campaign methods used during this election cycle – that in the post elections period have been widely discussed in the exiled community as being too negative – the Election Commission should consider developing a election code of conduct for participating candidates and organizations. The code should outline the usage of the media, including social media, dissemination of information, etc.