Dharamsala: US-based Lobsang Sangay, a 42-year-old who considers India his second home after Tibet, was elected the new Kalon Tripa or the Tibetan Prime Minister-in-exile on Wednesday.

Harvard scholar Lobsang Sangay would take over the political duties relinquished by the spiritual leader Dalai Lama.

42-year-old Sangay polled 55 percent votes out of 49,189, defeating his nearest rival Tethong Tenzin Namgyal by 8,646 votes, Election Commissioner Jampal Chosang announced in Dharamshala.

Tethong Tenzin Namgyal, a Standford scholar, polled 18,405 votes while Tashi Wangdi, the Dalai Lama's representative in Brussels, New York and New Delhi, finished third. The election was held on March 20.

61 percent votes were cast by the electoral college comprising over 83,000 Tibetans in exile in India, the US, European countries, Bhutan, Nepal, Russia and Japan among others. Apparently under Chinese pressure, voting was not allowed by authorities in Nepal and Bhutan.

The Election Commissioner also announced the results of the polls for the 15th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile.

75-year-old Dalai Lama had announced last month that he would step down as political head of the Tibetan government-in-exile but will remain as spiritual leader and continue to advocate "meaningful autonomy" for Tibet.

The Nobel Peace Laureate, who had been at the forefront of a six-decade-long struggle for freedom of Tibetans, had also said he would hand over his "formal authority" to a "freely-elected" leader.

The Dalai, who will retain the more significant role of Tibet's spiritual leader, had made it clear that he was committed to playing his part for the "just cause" of Tibet.

Agencies