Dalai Lama to step down as Political Leader of Tibetan Government in Exile
Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama to step down as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile.
Nobel Peace Prize winner the Dalai Lama on 10 March 2011 announced in his address marking the anniversary of the 1959 uprising against the Chinese his decision to step down as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile. He explained that some section of the Tibetan population favour a more radical agenda than his non-violent campaign for autonomy within the Chinese state. The Tibetan spiritual leader decided to step down because his people needed an elected political head.
In the Indian town of Dharamshala, where the government in exile is based, he announced his decision to devolve authority to a freely elected Tibetan leader. However he would still continue to be committed to achieving greater autonomy in his Tibetan homeland through non-violent means.
The Dalai Lama was 15 when he was appointed head of state in 1950 after Chinese troops moved into Tibet. He fled his homeland in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule. He had stressed as early as in 1960s the need for a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people while he would maintain his more important position as the spiritual figurehead of the Tibetan movement.