10 Mar 2011

Dalai Lama to step down as political leader

7:04 pm on 10 March 2011

The Dalai Lama says he will step down as political leader of the Tibetan govermment in exile.

He made the announcement on Thursday, saying: "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.

"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, Reuters reports.

He remains Tibet's spiritual leader.