(CNN) -- The Dalai Lama announced Thursday his plan to retire as political head of the Tibetan exile movement, according to his website.
"Tibetans need a leader, elected freely by the Tibetan people, to whom I can devolve power," the exiled spiritual leader said in a statement. "Now, we have clearly reached the time to put this into effect."
The Dalai Lama remains the head of state for now, according to Tempa Tshering, his representative in India, and will remain the group's spiritual leader.
"On March 14th, parliament will meet in Dharamsala (India) and decide whether to approve his request," he said. "He wants to make a change. He has always believed in democracy and He wasn't elected as head of state."