The use of money power and apathy of citizens in the electoral process call for innovative methods and strategies : Dr S Y Quraishi
The Third Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries started off today in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Dr S Y Quraishi, Chief Election Commissioner of India. The 3-day Conference brings together the Chief Election Commissioners and senior election officials of the region on a common platform to share best practices in election administration and management. Some of the important topics to be discussed are: Empowerment of Election Management Bodies; Inclusive elections, Voters Education, Controlling Money Power in Elections, Technology for cost-effective elections etc. The discussions will also focus on the final shape of the Forum of SAARC Election Management Bodies, which was agreed at the last Conference held in Islamabad.Mr Fazel Ahmad Manawi, Chairman, Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan, Mr Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, Chief Election Commissioner of Bangladesh, Mr Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, Chief Election Commissioner of Bhutan, Mr Neel Kantha Upreti, Chief Election Commissioner of Nepal, Mr Ibrahim Waheed, Commissioner, Maldives, Mr Justice Muhammad Roshan Essani, Member, Election Commission of Pakistan and Mr Mahinda Deshapriya, Commissioner of Elections of Sri Lanka lead their delegations. Representatives from UNDP, SAARC Secretariat and Mr J Lyngdoh, former CEC are attending the Conference as special invitees. Speaking at the Conference, Chief Election Commissioner, Dr S Y Quraishi, pointed to the common challenges before election managers in South Asia who deal with over a billion electorate which is 60 to 70 percent of the whole democratic world. He said that the Election Commissions of SAARC countries have to find innovative methods to deal with the new problems in the electoral field. Dr. Quraishi said, bitter political competition, the use of money power and apathy of citizens in the electoral process call for innovative methods and strategies. Election Commissioners, Shri V S Sampath and Shri H S Brahma emphasized on continuous exchange of experience and expertise between the SAARC Electoral bodies. Bangladesh hosted the first Conference in May 2010 and the second Conference was held at Islamabad last year. Election Commission of India works in close collaboration with the Election Management Bodies of South Asian Countries. In the recent weeks, officials from the Election Commissions of Afghanistan, Maldives and Bhutan received training at the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management, IIIDEM of the Commission.