Tibet’s exiled parliament opened an historic session Monday that will consider a request by the Dalai Lama to be relieved of his title as political leader of the Tibetan movement.
The 75-year-old Nobel peace laureate announced last week that he intended to retire as the titular head of Tibet’s government-in-exile and devolve those duties to a directly elected leader.
He was expected to submit a formal letter on Monday requesting that the parliament amend the Tibetan movement’s constitution to allow him to step down.
The Dalai Lama’s political title is largely symbolic and he will retain the more significant role of Tibet’s spiritual leader.
He has also made clear that he would not be withdrawing from public life and remained “committed to playing my part in the just cause of Tibet”.
It is not the first time the Dalai Lama has asked to be released from his ceremonial political responsibilities, and the parliament has rejected similar requests in the past, arguing that there was no replacement of equal stature.
Observers say the Dalai Lama is more adamant this time, and expect that his temporal duties will be assumed by the exiled government’s new prime minister, who will be elected in a final round of voting on Sunday.