Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

New Tibetan prime minister sworn in

Lobsang Sangay, left, the new prime minister of Tibet's government in exile, stands next to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (AP)
Lobsang Sangay, left, the new prime minister of Tibet's government in exile, stands next to Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama (AP)

The Dalai Lama has led a ceremony to swear in a new prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile who takes over the Buddhist leader's political role.

Harvard-trained legal scholar Lobsang Sangay took the oath of office and for the first time in Tibetan history holds a higher political authority than the Dalai Lama.

Mr Sangay was elected in April by tens of thousands of exiled Tibetans to lead the administration based in the northern Indian city of Dharmsala.

The Dalai Lama said an elected official should lead the government while he remains the Tibetan Buddhists' spiritual head.

Mr Sangay vowed to follow the Dalai Lama's path, seeking more autonomy for Tibet within China. China refuses to recognise his authority.

"We are also willing to negotiate with the Chinese government anytime, anywhere," Mr Sangay told the huge crowd which had gathered for the ceremony at the Tsuglakhang temple in Dharmsala.

he said he would work to fulfil the vision of the Dalai Lama to create a truly secular democratic society.

"Tibetan leadership is far from fizzling out... we are here to stay," he said.

The 76-year-old Dalai Lama, who accompanied the new leader to the temple, hugged and blessed him after the ceremony.

The Dalai Lama, the 14th in a line of men said to be the living incarnation of Chenrezig, a Buddhist god of compassion, said he needed to resign as political leader because he feared chaos would erupt after his eventual death, when the Chinese government and Buddhist monks are certain to argue over the identity of his successor.

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