The first phase of the election for the Tibetan parliament-in-exile was held yesterday to elect the next Sikyong (president).

Of the 1.3 lakh Tibetans living in exile in India and across the globe, around 80,000 Tibetan voters have registered for the polls to elect members for the 17th parliament-in-exile.

In Dharamshala, the capital of the Tibetan diaspora, 14 polling stations were set up in accordance with the Covid-guidelines.

Incumbent Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay said, "The Tibetan democracy-in-exile reflects the true aspirations of our brothers and sisters inside Tibet. By this, we are sending a clear message to Beijing that Tibet is under occupation but Tibetans in exile are free. And given a chance, an opportunity, we prefer democracy."

Sangay also said that despite the pandemic, Tibetans living in nearly 40 countries took part in phase 1 of elections.

The second and final phase of the election is scheduled to be held on April 11.