India has been unanimously elected as the new Chair of the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) for 2022-2024, informed the Election Commission of India on Wednesday.
As per ECI, the decision was taken at the recently held meeting of the Executive Board and General Assembly at Manila, Philippines. Commission on Elections, Manila was the current chair of AAEA. The new member of the Executive Board now includes Russia, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Taiwan and the Philippines. ECI's 3-member delegation headed by Deputy Election Commissioner Nitesh Vyas, along with Manipur Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajesh Agrawal and CEO Rajasthan Praveen Gupta, attended the Executive Board meeting in Manila and presented the work plan for 2022-23 as also futuristic activities for 2023-24 to the Executive Board.
A presentation on 'Gender Issues in Elections' was also given, highlighting various concerted and targeted interventions by India to break socio-political barriers in electoral and political processes for inclusive and participative elections, said the ECI in its statement. According to ECI, the mission of the Association of Asian Election Authorities is to provide a non-partisan forum in the Asian region for sharing experiences and best practices among election authorities to discuss and act upon ways to promote open and transparent elections with the objective of supporting good governance and democracy. Officials from many AAEA member countries have been regularly attending International Training Programmes conducted by India International Institute for Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) from time to time.
Since 2019, more than 250 officials from AAEA member countries have attended these programmes. IIIDEM also conducts customised capacity development training programs for specific AAEA member countries. 50 officials of the Bangladesh Election Commission were trained during 2021-22. Delegates from AAEA have also been regularly participating in the International Election Visitors Programme organised by the Election Commission of India. 62 officials from 12 AAEA members participated in the 3rd International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IEVP) hosted by ECI during Assembly Elections in 2022.
AAEA is also an Associate Member of the 118 member Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB). In pursuance of the resolution passed by participants of the Symposium on Asian Elections in the 21st century held from January 26-29, 1997 in Manila, Philippines, the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) was established in 1998. Currently, 20 Asian EMBs are members of AAEA.
ECI is a founder member of EMB of the AAEA and also served on the Executive Board of the AAEA as the Vice-Chair during 2011-13 and Chair during 2014-16.