2021 Central Tibetan Administration general election

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2021 Central Tibetan Administration general election

← 2016 October 18, 2021 (first round)
March 20, 2022 (second round)
2026 →
  Penpa Tsering - Sikyong.jpg Face detail, Kaydor Aukatsang (right) on 10 March 2015, from-Congresswoman Pelosi speaks at the 56th Annual Commemoration of the Tibetan National Uprising Day (16871694917) (cropped).jpg
Candidate Penpa Tsering Kaydor Aukatsang
Party Independent Independent
First ballot 32,199 26,590
First percentage 55% 45%
Final percentage 65% 35%

Incumbent Sikyong

Lobsang Sangay
National Democratic Party of Tibet

The Tibetan Election Commission of the Central Tibetan Administration has confirmed that the procedure set for the preparation of the next general elections of 2021 is underway, according to a statement by Wangdu Tsering Pesur, chief electoral commissioner.[1]

Wangdu Tsering has indicated that the worsening COVID-19 pandemic could cause problems, but hopes for an improvement.[1]

Regarding independent or NGO-based candidacy announcement, Wangdu Tsering Pesur recalled the Election Commission (EC) guidelines: “We have been very clear in the guidelines about candidature announcements, in that only EC declares the names of the candidates contesting elections. Even though there have been some announcements through social media on the basis of support and strength of certain individuals, we urge the community to adhere to the EC guidelines as has been done up until now.".[1]

The term of the current cabinet headed by Dr. Lobsang Sangay, who has served for two consecutive terms, will end with his retirement as Sikyong[2] in May 2021.

Sikyong Candidates[edit]

The first Tibetans to publicly announced their proposed candidacy for the highest office in Tibetan politics "Sikyong" are former minister Dolma Gyari; former minister, representative of Dalai Lama in the America and acting president of the Tibet Fund - Lobsang Nyandak;[3] and member of parliament Acharya Yeshi Phuntsok.[1]

Thereafter, Kelsang Dorjee Aukatsang, Tashi Wangdu, and Penpa Tsering announced their candidacy for the election of Sikyong on September 2, 2020.[4] Ngodup Dongchung announced his candidacy on September 9,[5] and Tashi Topgyal, on September 10.[6]

Smartvote Tibet[edit]

Throughout 2020, a civil society initiative called Smartvote Tibet[7] invited Tibetans to submit questions for Sikyong and MP candidates in order to build an informed electorate. Smartvote Tibet is an initiative formed by a group of Tibetans who have a background in political science, history, psychology, technology and human rights law. Once the public submit questions on a wide range of current issues, the candidates answer them. Then, voters can answer the same set of questions after which they receive a list of candidates that best match their preferences.

The project smartvote Tibet was covered by Tibetan media outlets such as Radio Free Asia, Voice of Tibet and Phayul. In a piece profiling younger candidates, Indian media outlet Mint mentioned smartvote. An article about the advantages and challenges of smartvote Tibet was written by team member Sonam Palmo Brunner and published by Global Voices.

The platform is an adapted version of smartvote, which was first developed in 2003 by Politools in Switzerland. The tool has been successfully implemented for regional and national elections in Switzerland, Australia, Luxembourg, Austria, Scotland as well as in the European Union.


The primary election of Sikyong and MPs is announced for January 3, 2021, with the results set to finalize by February 8.[8] Hundreds of voters, most wearing facemasks, using hand sanitzer, and maintaining social distancing, voted in Dharamshala, India.[9]

Following the initial primary, the two Sikyong candidates receiving the highest vote share move on the second round. The date for the second round is set for March 20.[10][11]


  1. ^ a b c d Choekyi Lhamo, Preparations for 2021 general elections underway, says Election Commissioner, Phayul.com, July 27, 2020
  2. ^ Tibetan Exiles Continue Experiment in Democracy as New Elections Near, Radio Free Asia, July 22, 2020
  3. ^ "Why I am supporting Lobsang Nyandak for Sikyong 2021 .:. Tibet Sun". www.tibetsun.com. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  4. ^ Lobsang Tenchoe, Penpa Tsering throws his hat into 2021 Sikyong election, tibetexpress.net, September 3, 2020
  5. ^ Tenzin Dharpo, Kasur Ngodup Dongchung to run for 2021 Sikyong election, Phayul.com, September 9, 2020
  6. ^ Choekyi Lhamo, Tashi Topgyal to run for Sikyong office for the second time, Phayul.com, September 10, 2020
  7. ^ Smartvote Tibet
  8. ^ "Tibetans vote in first round of poll for Sikyong : The Tribune India". www.tribuneindia.com. Archived from the original on 2022-03-11.
  9. ^ "India: Tibetans in exile vote to elect new political leader". aljazeera.com. Al Jazeera English. January 3, 2021. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  10. ^ Choekyi Lhamo, EC declares electoral schedule for 2021 general elections, Phayul.com, September 28, 2020
  11. ^ "Tibetan Diaspora to Vote for Next Government-in-Exile Leader on Jan. 3".

See also[edit]