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4august20101Dharamshala: Dolma Gyalri, the current Deputy Speaker of the Tibetan Parliament in-exile, held a personal press conference this morning at the Lhapa Tsering Memory Hall of the Tibetan Department of Information in Dharamshala, where she announced her intentions to run for Prime Minister (Kalon Tripa) in the upcoming elections. "If the Tibetan people support me and give me the chance, I have the strength to become the next Prime Minister", she said.

After thanking the journalists in attendance for coming, she spoke of the well-known competition that surrounds the election of the 15th Tibetan Parliament members and Prime Minister, and how people are paying far more attention to the process than in previous years.

"I held this press conference today in order announce my future standing and to make clear my objectives for the election," Dolma explained.

A Member of Parliament (MP) since 1991, when she was first elected to the 11th Tibetan Parliament in-exile, Dolma has been continuously re-elected. "For the last 19 years I have worked as hard as I can in this position...but this year I have already decided not to join the nominations for the 15th Parliament".

As a Parliament representative of the Kham (Dhotoe) region of Tibet, Dolma used the opportunity to thank the people of this province for their support and for giving her the chance to be an MP for the last 19 years. However, she also stressed that she applied herself equally to all Tibetan people in her work. "This is what I committed to when I took the oath to become a Member of Parliament, a promise I made most importantly to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.

Dolma revealed that her decision to make her intentions public was hindered by fears of the response to the fact she is a woman. Although she has never experienced gender inequality directly, something she feels very lucky to be able to say, she was concerned that her status as the first female to run for the prime-ministerial position would cause problems.

Until now, Dolma was anxious that coming out to society with her announcement would be met by difficulties.

"These days, I often think about such things. I am lucky enough to have been born in a democratic state and live under His Holiness; I have no direct experience of the Chinese genocide in Tibet; I have studied in school, been to college, and joined different associations. During this time I was never looked down upon as a woman, I had no idea about gender discrimination. I never had these problems."

However, Dolma admitted, "If I was a man I would have perhaps already announced my intentions. But, thanks to the Charter of Tibetans-in-exile and the good leader His Holiness, we have gender equality so to take this opportunity is very important."

The Deputy Speaker spoke graciously about the commitment she would have as PM and assured Tibetans that she has the strength and dedication to uphold this position.