[*Karma Choephel: Tibetan deputy (U-Tsang), co-chairman of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile, former President and vice-President of the Tibetan Youth Congress (1985-1989), former President and co-founder of the National Democratic Party of Tibet (1994, 2004-2006)]
Q: When you were elected as the Chairman of the Tibetan Parliament in Exile (TPiE), you resigned from the Presidential post of the National Democratic Party of Tibet (NDPT). But are you still member of the NDPT?
K.C: Yes, I am still an ordinary member of the NDPT.
Q: As a deputy at the TPiE, are you or do you consider yourself as a deputy of the NDPT?
K.C: No, mainly because the present Tibetan election system is not based on political party lines. Those members of the NDPT who belong to the U-Tsang or Central Tibetan province might have voted for me. Basically therefore, I am a deputy of this province.
Q: Till now, the TPiE has no political party system. However the NDPT exists and presents itself as a political party. Consequently why isn't it represented at the TPiE, and, if it is not represented within this Assembly, in what consists its role as a political party?
K.C: NDPT was started by Tibetan Youth Congress initially on the expressed advice of His Holiness the Dalai Lama mainly to act as a forum and an initiator of further democratic exercises as a preparation for the future Tibetan polity. I believe that in the vision of His Holiness, he also envisages a dual or multiparty parliamentary system of democracy for future Tibet and he felt that the beginning must be made in exile. So I do not hope for any full fledged role for the party while in exile as long as the present election system is in place. NDPT is supposed to be a preparation for the future.
Q: NTPD stands for Rangzen. Yourself, how do you conceive the parliamentary action for Rangzen within the TPiE?
K.C: At present it can be said that within the Tibetan parliament there is a majority support for the Middle Way policy. But I have a sense that the longer the present stalemate of getting no concrete response from the Chinese side remains more members tend to waver in their position. So I have seen that from the 11th House till now more and more members have changed their position. Therefore, my proposed resolution to review the Middle Way policy got the majority support. That it got changed in the next session is another story which had more to do with the political exigency rather than individual support. So I feel that in future also if the stalemate remains support for Rangzen will grow in the house.
Interview conducted by Mathieu Vernerey