Nearly 80,000 people have registered for elections of representatives to the Central Tibetan Administration, also referred to as the government-in-exile, in January next year, officials said on Monday. The first phase of elections for the next Sikyong (Tibetan prime minister-in-exile) and members of the 17th parliament will be held on January 3, 2021 whereas the final election will be held on April 11, 2021.

A total of 79,697 Tibetans have registered for the upcoming elections, the CTA’s election commission in Dharamshala said. Of the total, 55,683 voters are residing in India while 24,014 are registered from outside the country.

Chief election commissioner Wangdu Tsering said, “As per the request from several regional commissions, we have given an additional five days from 23rd to 28th of December, 2020 for the registration. Several people from remote areas were facing problems. So, keeping it in mind, we have allowed the additional time period for registration.” “The whole world has been badly affected by the coronavirus pandemic but the strong determination of regional election commissions along with public support helped us to functioning smoothly but still there were some kind of obstructions also…,” he added. On the other hand, the candidates have started campaigning for the polls. Their posters can be seen on walls around the hill town here.

This time, people are avoiding face-to-face interaction as most candidates are campaigning through social media. Namgyal Dolkar, a candidate for member of the parliament in-exile said, “Our campaigning is going good considering the restrains that we are under because of the COVID. We are trying to reach out to the people online, through videos, and through posters.”.

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