New Delhi [India], August 11 (ANI): Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted a virtual meeting of the 'Asian Regional Forum' on the theme 'Making our Elections Inclusive, Accessible and Participative at Nirvachan Sadan on Thursday.
The Regional Forum meeting was a precursor to 'Summit for Electoral Democracy' to be hosted by the National Electoral Institute of Mexico in the coming month.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, in his keynote address, said that democracy and democratic institutions flourish when all groups of people are fully represented. No democracy can ever be meaningful and aspirational, unless it is inclusive for all citizens, accessible without fear or favour and participative despite differential social, political, and economic vulnerabilities.
He exhorted all Election Management Bodies (EMBs) for continuous self-evaluation and strengthening of their systems, to meet the rising expectations from citizens and to deal with the emerging challenges during the electoral process.
According to an official release, he added that the framework for assessment and so-called ranking of democracies by global evaluating agencies should be objective and contextual, factoring in the magnitude, socio, cultural and geographical context in which each country and EMB functions.
Welcoming the idea for this global 'Summit for Electoral Democracy', Rajiv Kumar said that the integrity of elections and democracy go hand-in-hand and generate global peace, prosperity and stability.
He cautioned the EMBs about the opportunities and challenges emerging from ever-increasing outreach through social media which also assumes criticality in terms of legal, regulatory framework and limitations across geographies to address fake news/narratives and surrogate advertising.
Complimenting the EMBs for various initiatives taken by them for accessible and inclusive elections, CEC said that there is scope to explore the possibilities of remote voting for the inclusion of migrant voters as well as marginalized voters to end barriers in the electoral processes more effectively.
A recorded message from Mr. Lorenzo C. Vianello, President, National Electoral Institute (INE) of Mexico was also shared with the participants. Representatives from Election Management Bodies of Mexico, Mauritius, Philippines, Nepal, Uzbekistan, Maldives, International IDEA, Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) and International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) participated in the meet. Senior officials from Election Commission of India were also present during the meet. (ANI)