ANS Desk, Sept 3
Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora spoke to the Extraordinary Session of the Executive Board of Association of World Election Bodies in Bengaluru. Arora recalled that Election Commission of India had been closely associated with the formation process of the A-WEB during 2011-12, and was one of the founding members of AWEB in October 2013.
India has been member of the Executive Board since 2013 and took over as Vice-Chair of AWEB since 2017. India continues to promote AWEB’s mission wholeheartedly to promote partnership among Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) around the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Sh Arora said the constituent units of the A-WEB are the Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) of different countries, structured to work together and learn from the experiences and best practices from one another. With 115 EMBs from 109 countries as its members, and 20 international organizations as Associate Members, the A-WEB has truly become a global organization to strengthen electoral management in a non-invasive manner.
Citing Thomas Alva Edison – “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration”, Sh Arora said it is especially true about democracy. “It is a very noble idea, which has inspired generation of patriots, reformers and humanists. But it takes a lot of imagination, diligence and professionalism to implement it on ground level. Eternal Vigilance is price that Democratic Countries pay for liberty, said Sh Arora.” He added “This is particularly true of emerging democracies where despite the political will of the citizens, the persisting statusquoist system suffers from ingrained weakness of institutions and trained manpower to conduct free, fair and participatory elections in a transparent manner. An electoral miscarriage might breed distrust towards democratic institutions, he cautioned. “This is where the importance of a multi-lateral organization like A-WEB comes to the fore”, he stated.
Shri Arora recounted that the framers of Indian Constitution were such visionaries that they chose to setup the institution of Election Commission on 25th January 1950 ie. one day before promulgation and formal adoption of our constitution on 26th January 1950. He said Election Commission of India (ECI) has successfully conducted 17 national elections and 388 state elections, thus strengthening the nation’s faith in electoral democracy. He added “ECI stands today as an institution of repute in imparting knowledge and sharing of best practices and skills with other EMBs through its robust International Cooperation Programme.” ECI has signed Memorandum of Understanding on Electoral Cooperation with 26 EMBs and International Organisations.
Shri Arora complimented Mr. Yong-Hi Kim, the current Secretary General of AWEB and his colleagues at the Secretariat for successfully organising various training programmes and conferences and other activities year after year fostering promotion of exchange and cooperation among participating EMBs.
Mr. Ion Mincu Radulescu, Adviser in the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania, representing the Chairperson of A-WEB, Chairpersons/Presidents and senior delegates from Election Management Bodies of Bangladesh; Burkina Faso; Dominican Republic; El Salvador; Fiji; Kenya; Malawi; Palestine; Paraguay; Tunisia & Uzbekistan were present as Members of the A-WEB Executive Board. Also participating in the meeting were Presidents and senior delegates from Election Management Bodies of Cameroon & Ecuador as also members of the Oversight and Audit Committee of A-WEB. Current Secretary General Mr. Yong Hi Kim and senior officials of A-WEB and ECI attended today’s session.
More than 120 delegates from 50 countries across the globe have come to Bengaluru for the AWEB’s meetings being held from 02nd to 04th September, 2019. By far this is the largest congregation of EMB delegates in India.