India's CEC heads World Election Bodies Association



India's Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora has been elected as Chairman of the Association of World Election Bodies (AWEB) for two years, an official statement said on Tuesday.

"Arora, who succeeded Romania's Lon Mincu Radulescu, assumed chairmanship for the next two years up to 2021 at the three-day 4th general assembly of the Association here," the poll panel said in a statement.

On the occasion, outgoing Chairman Radulescu handed over the Association's flag to Arora in the presence of Election Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandran and participating delegates.

Radulescu is the advisor to the Romania's permanent election authority.

The flag will remain with Arora for the two-year term till 20121.

"India was unanimously nominated to the top post of the AWEB at its last general assembly in Romania's Bucharest in 2017," said the statement.

Citing Mahatma Gandhi's writings, Arora said democracy was the art and science of mobilising the physical, economic and spiritual resources of the people in the service of all.

"The preamble of the AWEB charter spells out its vision to foster cooperation between the electoral management bodies (EMBs) for a credible electoral process, promote free and fair elections, develop democratic culture and ensure gender equality and inclusion of people with disabilities," Arora said. 

Noting that two-thirds of the global population lives under democratic rule, the CEC said he would strive to strengthen the interaction and partnership with the AWEB secretariat, promote Association activities and empower the EMBs through its capacity building programmes.

The general assembly also ratified the appointment of South African Election Commission Chairperson Glen Vuma Mashinini as the Association's new Vice-Chairman and of South Korea's Jonghyun Choe as the new Secretary-General.

"As a number of nascent democracies are working to stabilise their political system by improving their electoral and legal systems, the Association will handhold them with support, expertise and skills from its member countries to ensure they conduct free and fair elections," Arora added.

About 110 delegates from 45 countries the world over are attended the three-day meeting since Monday.

EMBs from Somalia, Congo, Dominican Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso and Mauritius were admitted to the Association's oversight and audit committees.

EMBs from Ukraine, Cambodia and Afghanistan, the political parties' registration commission of Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Mauritius joined the AWEB as members, and the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) as associate members.

Arora also announced that an AWEB centre will be established at the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management in New Delhi for documentation, research and training, and sharing best practices and capacity building among Association members.IANS