EC to host World Election Bodies meet in B'luru

Deputy EC Umesh Sinha shakes hands with Karnataka State EC Sanjiv Kumar ahead of the 4th General Assembly meeting of A-WEB and International Conference, in Bengaluru, Sunday, Sept 01, 2019. (PTI Photo)

The Election Commission of India on Sunday said that it would host the 4th General Assembly of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) here on September 3, during which India would take over as its Chair for the 2019-21 term. Over 50 countries would participate in the meetings from September 2 to 4 as part of the General Assembly, ECI officials said.

An international conference on "Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections" will also be held on September 4, they said.

Established on October 14, 2013 in Song-do, South Korea, A-WEB, with its permanent secretariat at Seoul, is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide.

A-WEB's vision is to foster efficiency and effectiveness in conducting free, fair, transparent and participative elections worldwide. It's activities include identifying latest trends, challenges and developments in democratic electoral management and electoral processes and to facilitate appropriate exchange of experience and expertise among members with the aim of strengthening electoral democracy worldwide, officials said.

"All election management bodies, be it in any part of the world, they face similar challenges on the front of electoral roll management, electoral reform,use of technology, counting. All these issues are discussed, deliberated...it is necessary that all election management bodies understand the challenges of one another and see the way forward," Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha told reporters here.

On whether there would be any focus on 'one nation-one election' at the meet, he said many countries are striving to do that and many have already done it.

"So these are the things which are discussed, but no certain decision is taken in one day. It will be a progressive step if all discuss about it..." he said.

The EC has been very closely associated with the process of formation of A-WEB since 2011-12 and has been its Executive Board Member since inception in October 2013 for two consecutive terms (2013-15 and 2015-17). At the last A-WEB General Assembly in Bucharest on August 31, 2017, Romania took over as the Chair and the ECI was unanimously elected as the Vice-Chair.

Pointing out that ECI is one of the founders of A-WEB, A-WEB Secretary-General Yong-Hi Kim said the organization was "like the United Nations in the election field,for the world." Officials said A-WEB currently has 115 EMBs as Members and 20 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members.

Twenty four EMBs from Asia, 37 from Africa, 31 from America, 17 from Europe and six from Oceania are currently A-WEB members, they said, adding that ECI would continue to remain on the Executive Board of A-WEB for 2021-23 in its capacity as immediate former Chair.

Stating that Over 120 Participants from more than 50 countries would take part in the A-WEB events here, Sinha said "By far this is the largest congregation of EMB delegates in India. The meeting of the Executive Board of A-WEB will be held on September 2.

"On September 3, the General Assembly of A-WEB will be held, where India will take over as Chair for the 2019-2021 term. Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora will preside over the General Assembly meeting.

On September 4, an International Conference on 'Initiatives and Challenges of Social Media and Information Technology in Elections' will be held," he added.

Officials said detailed deliberations at the A-WEB General Assembly would include discussion on Challenges and future of furthering partnership amongst EMBs; appointment of office bearers, programmes and activities to be undertaken in 2020 A-WEB was founded with the shared vision among its members of achieving sustainable democracy around the world and aims at strengthening the processes of election management in member countries.

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