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Sikyong of the Central Tibetan Administration
Emblem of Tibet.svg
Emblem of Tibet
Lobsang Sangay

since 8 August 2011
Residence Kashag
Dharamsala, India
Appointer 14th Dalai Lama
as Head of State
Term length 5 years
Inaugural holder Jangsa Tsang
Formation 31 March 1959

The Sikyong (Tibetan: སྲིད་སྐྱོང༌Wylie: srid-skyong, Lhasa dialect IPA: [sícóŋ]) is the leader of the Central Tibetan Administration, a Tibetan exile organisation also known as the Tibetan government-in-exile. Prior to September, 2012, this office was known as Kalön Tripa, sometimes translated as prime minister[1]. The current Sikyong is Lobsang Sangay. The Sikyong is the head of the Kashag or Cabinet, part of the executive branch of the Central Tibetan Administration. This office should not be confused with the Chairman of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The first directly elected Kalön Tripa was Lobsang Tenzin, the Samdhong Rinpoche, who was elected August 20, 2001.[1]

Before 2011, the Kalön Tripa position was subordinate to the 14th Dalai Lama[2] who presided over the government in exile from its founding.[3] In August of that year, Lobsang Sangay polled 55 per cent votes out of 49,189, defeating his nearest rival Tethong Tenzin Namgyal by 8,646 votes,[citation needed] becoming the second popularly-elected Kalon Tripa. The Dalai Lama announced that his political authority would be transferred to Sangay.[4]

Change to Sikyong[edit]

On September 20, 2012, the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile unanimously voted to change the title of Kalön Tripa to Sikyong in Article 19 of the Charter of the Tibetans in exile and relevant articles.[5] The Dalai Lama had previously referred to the Kalon Tripa as Sikyong, and this usage was cited as the primary justification for the name change. According to Tibetan Review, "Sikyong" translates to "political leader", as distinct from "spiritual leader".[6] Foreign affairs Kalon Dicki Chhoyang claimed that the term "Sikyong" has had a precedent dating back to the 7th Dalai Lama, and that the name change "ensures historical continuity and legitimacy of the traditional leadership from the fifth Dalai Lama".[7] The online Dharma Dictionary translates sikyong (srid skyong) as "secular ruler; regime, regent"[2]. The title sikyong had previously been used by regents who ruled Tibet during the Dalai Lama's minority. It is also used in Tibetan to refer to the governors of the states of the United States.[3]

List of Prime Ministers of the Tibetan government in exile[edit]

# Name Picture Took Office Left Office
1 Jangsa Tsangy 1959 1960
2 Surkhang Wangchen Gelek Wangchen Geleg Surkhang, Phuntsog Rabgye Ragashar.jpg 1960 1964
3 Shenkha Gurmey Topgyal 先喀·居美多吉(夏苏)、洛桑扎西、柳霞·土登塔巴.jpg 1965 1970
4 Garang Lobsang Rigzin 1970 1975
5 Kunling Woeser Gyaltsen 1975 1980
6 Wangdue Dorjee 1980 1985
7 Juchen Thupten Namgyal Voa Juchen Thupten Namgyal 480.jpg 1985 1990
8 Kalsang Yeshi 1990 1991
9 Gyalo Dhondup Gyalo Thondup.jpg 1991 1993
10 Tenzin Tethong Tibetan pm debate 480 main 03march2011.jpg 1993 1996
11 Sonam Topgyal Sonam Topgyal.jpg 1996 2001
12 Lobsang Tenzin Samdhong Rinpoche Lobsang Tenzin crop.JPG 2001 2011
13 Lobsang Sangay Lobsang Sangay, Tibetan Prime Minister.jpg 2011 present


  1. ^ Donovan Roebert, Samdhong Rinpoche: Uncompromising Truth for a Compromised World (World Wisdom, 2006) ISBN 978-1-933316-20-8 (On August 20, 2001, Venerable Professor Samdhong Rinpoche was elected Kalon Tripa (Prime Minister) of the Tibetan Government in Exile, receiving 84.5% of the popular exile vote.)
  2. ^ The Charter of Tibetans in-Exile, Article 20 of the Constitution of Tibet, retrieved 2010-03-19.
  3. ^ The Charter of Tibetans in-Exile, Articles 19, 30, & 31 of the Constitution of Tibet, retrieved 2010-03-19.
  4. ^ Dean Nelson Lobsang Sangay: profile, The Telegraph, 08 Aug 2011
  5. ^ Tibetan Parliament changes 'Kalon Tripa' to 'Sikyong'
  6. ^ "Kalon Tripa to be now referred to as Sikyong". Tibetan Review. 2012-09-22. Retrieved 2012-12-11. 
  7. ^ "International Support Groups Meet in Dharamsala to Deal with Critical Situation In Tibet". Central Tibetan Administration. 2012-11-16. 


External links[edit]