Though long anticipated, the move away from the limelight by one of the world's best known political figures signals a dramatic change. As the news began to sink in, senior leaders of the Tibetan community in exile expressed concern that they were not yet "competent" to emerge from the shadow of their long-time figurehead. Thousands of ordinary Tibetans had, they said, asked the Dalai Lama, whose office traditionally combines spiritual and temporal roles, to reconsider. Dr Stephen Tsang...said that the Dalai Lama was trying to change "a several centuries old theocracy into a secular political authority that supports a religious establishment … it's a huge deal".