Exiled Tibetans welcome election of new prime minister

A Harvard academic has been elected prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile and will take on the political role formerly held by the Dalai Lama.

Lobsang Sangay won 55% of votes cast by Tibetans around the world, defeating two other candidates for the role, Tenzin Tethong and Tashi Wangdi.

BBC News website readers have been sharing their reaction to Mr Sangay's victory.

Tenzin Rabga, 24, monk in Mundgod, India

Image caption Tenzin Rabga is a 24-year-old Tibetan monk in Mundgod, India

There are 5,000 monks here in the monastery in Mundgod and almost all of them voted in the election for Tibetan prime minister. I voted for Mr Sangay, so I am very happy about the result.

Before the election no-one thought he would win, but we really needed a new-generation leader. Now it looks like we have our own version of Barack Obama.

Now the Dalai Lama has given up his political responsibilities, I hope Mr Sangay takes on the new leadership role well. We can see he is an educated man. Now we want to see the man in action.

Tenzin Yangdak, 52, interpreter in Toronto, Canada

I was born in Tibet, but fled to India with my parents in 1959. In 2005, I moved to Canada as a refugee.

Image caption Lobsang Sangay says he has cultivated contacts in China and is ready to lead

I did vote in the election, but chose Tashi Wangdi, following his long and dedicated service and experience in Tibetan administration and struggle during those hard times.

I thought Lobsang Sangay's vision sounded good but I didn't know enough about him to believe he had enough experience for the role.

Since Mr Sangay won the election, I have been reading about him and believe this might not be a bad choice. Hopefully, it might even be a good outcome.

I hope he can use his knowledge of international law to find a legal way to solve the Tibetan issue or use his connections with Chinese groups in the West to find ways of restarting dialogue with the Chinese leadership.

I do support Mr Sangay now for his respectable victory and vision, and I believe the Tibetan people should all support him, too. I am going to put my faith and hope in him from now on.

Gelek Rapten, 27, travel agent in Kathmandu, Nepal

My family came to Kathmandu in 1959 after the revolt in Tibet, and I was born and raised here.

My whole family voted in this election but then we heard the Nepalese government had stolen the ballot box and many precious votes from Nepal could not be counted.

Image caption Gelek Rapten says he believes Mr Sangay is the "perfect choice"

The Tibetan election commission tried to rerun the vote, but again the government did not let it happen.

I strongly condemn the Nepalese government for committing such an act under Chinese influence. I felt sad to be in Nepal and deprived of my basic rights.

I believe he is the perfect choice for us. As a Harvard academic, we have full confidence in him.

I hope Mr Sangay initiates talks with Tibetan supporters and the Chinese government.

I wish him success for his entire tenure on behalf of all Tibetan people and look forward to seeing very successful government in exile under his leadership.

Namdol Lhamo, 33, doctor in Dharamsala, India

The election of a Tibetan prime minister means a lot to me as well as for all other fellow Tibetans.

My parents were born in Tibet but fled to India after the Chinese occupation. I was born here in Dharamsala but like all other Tibetans I hope to return to Tibet.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama's decision to step back from political life is the result of his constant efforts to achieve real democracy for Tibet and its people. He has a vision to instigate and prepare a new generation of Tibetans to take on responsibilities and work hard despite obstacles. But he will continue to be a heart of Tibet and Tibetan people.

As new prime minister, Mr Sangay must use his educational background and this golden opportunity with great sincerity, intelligence and stability to overcome the suffering and problems of Tibetans.

He must also continue the wonderful and meaningful "middle way" approach, begun by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

I want him to work hard by always keeping in mind the expectations and cries of all Tibetans inside and outside Tibet.

I wish our new Kalon Tripa [prime minister] the very best of luck and pray that he may succeed in all his endeavours.

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