Dalai Lama plans to step down as Tibetan political leader

Reuters News
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Posted: Mar 21, 2011 9:35 AM

DHARAMSALA, India (Reuters) - The Dalai Lama announced on Thursday that he was stepping down as political leader of the Tibetan government in exile.

"As early as the 1960s, I have repeatedly stressed that Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power," the Dalai Lama said in a prepared speech. "Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect."

The Dalai Lama has long seen himself as "semi-retired" from political leadership with an elected prime minister already in place in the northern Indian town of Dharamsala. He remains Tibet's spiritual leader.

(Reporting by Alistair Scrutton)