Reuters blog archive
It may be a low-key campaign for 83,000 votes dotted around the globe, but an election of exiled Tibetans may ring in momentous changes for one of the world's regional hot spots. Three secular candidates are battling to fill a vacuum created by the Dalai Lama's move to relinquish political power after more than five decades as head of the Tibetan government-in-exile based in Dharamsala, a town of temples, hotels and trinket shops.
The March 20 vote for prime minister may prove a landmark in replacing a religious monarchy with a more radical leader claiming democratic legitimacy to speak for Tibetans, dealing a huge symbolic blow to China's claims to rule the region. But it could also open up fissures between traditional Tibetans and a younger tech-savvy generation about the role of the Dalai Lama. Some fear for the very future of an exiled movement long used to the dominance of their spiritual leader and opposition to his move has already emerged.
"The new leader could be much more of a global figurehead," Samdhong Rinpoche, a lama who became the exiled Tibetan's first directly elected prime minister in 2001, told Reuters. "That's why this election is so important. But it also brings in many risks."
from Tales from the Trail:
Spa treatment or desert retreat?
With so many possible locations from which to choose and no worries about stretching the 401K, where's an embattled leader to settle in retirement?
Egypt's Hosni Mubarak has announced he will not run for reelection in September. But protesters who have taken to the streets of Cairo and other Egyptian cities by the thousands are demanding he leave office now.
from Raw Japan:
Japan's Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko celebrated 20 years on the throne this week with a typical formal ceremony, including a speech from the prime minister and classical music performances.
But the elderly imperial couple then escaped the palace for an outdoor celebration that included hip-hop dancers.