Seminar – 13 June – Martin Mills

June 6th, 2017 by


Tuesday 13  June 2017

4.30–6.00 Mond Building Seminar Room

Martin Mills

University of Aberdeen

Last Gift of the God-King: Negotiating Constitutional Ownership in the Wake of the Dalai Lama’s Resignation

The resignation in November 2011 of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama from political office presented the Tibetan Government-in-Exile (now called the Central Tibetan Administration, or CTA) with profound constitutional challenges. The exiled Tibetan administration based in Dharamsala, India – with its triumvirate institutions of executive, legislature and judiciary – had been regulated, at least in theory, by the Charter of Tibetans in Exile, a Charter which nonetheless gave supreme sovereign authority over the Tibetan refugee settlements and administration to the Dalai Lama. His retirement from political office entailed not just his resignation, but the entire separation of his religious estate and lineage – the Ganden Podrang – from exiled political governance. These events, directed almost in entirety by the Dalai Lama himself, forced the CTA, perhaps for the first time in history, to endeavour to formally articulate the actual powers and responsibilities of a sitting (if exiled) Dalai Lama, precisely so that they could be delegated to others. Based on interviews with past and present prime ministers of the CTA, and members of the Charter Reform Committee, this paper examines the difficulties and disagreements and revelations involved in the exiled Tibetan administration’s hesitant moves towards ‘secular democracy’.