The Dalai Lama said on Thursday that his leadership was as outdated as a monarchy and insisted he would relinquish a four-century old tradition of power despite opposition from within the Tibetan government-in-exile.
The Dalai Lama last week announced he would step down as Tibet’s political leader to empower an elected prime minister, a move seen transforming the government-in-exile into a more assertive body in the face of Chinese pressure. But many exiled Tibetan leaders have opposed his devolving of power, fearful the movement could wane without the influence of a global celebrity adored by Hollywood stars and the 6 million Tibetans who worship him as a reincarnated leader. “The rule by spiritual leaders, the rule by kings or rajas is now outdated,” Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama who has been calling for democratic reforms since the 1960s, told a news conference in his first public statement since his decision. “I do not want to be like Mubarak.”