Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sunil Arora today assumed Chairmanship of Association of World Election Bodies (AWEB) for the term 2019-21 as India takes over the Chair from Romania. India was unanimously nominated to be the Vice-Chair of AWEB at the last General Assembly held at Bucharest in 2017. The AWEB Flag was handed over to the new Chairman, Sh. Sunil Arora by the Representative of Outgoing Chair, Mr. Ion Mincu Radulescu, Advisor, Permanent Election Authority Romania. The Flag will remain with Election Commission of India for the two year term till 2021. More than 110 delegates from 45 countries attended the meeting. On this occasion, CEC Sh Sunil Arora along with the two Election Commissioners of India Sh. Ashok Lavasa and Sh. Sushil Chandra and Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Sh Umesh Sinha also launched ECI’s quarterly magazine – ‘VOICE International’ which shares best practices from more than 25 Countries..
Convening the General Assembly as the new Chairman of AWEB, Sh Sunil Arora acknowledged that it was his privilege and pleasure to welcome all delegates to Bengaluru for the AWEB meetings. Citing Mahatma Gandhi’s writings, Sh Arora said “Democracy must in essence mean the art and science of mobilizing the entire physical, economic and spiritual resources of all the various sections of the people in the service of the common good of all”. Sh Arora also noted that the very Preamble of AWEB Charter spells out the vision of AWEB wherein it mentions the need for strengthening cooperation between and among EMBs for the purpose of ensuring a credible electoral process in the world; committing to promote conditions conducive to free, fair, transparent and participative elections and to the development of a democratic culture in the world; promoting gender equality and the inclusion of People with Disabilities and other marginalized communities in the electoral process. More than two-third of global population now lives under democratic rule, he noted.
Accepting the responsibility as Chairman of AWEB, Sh Arora said ECI looks forward to further strengthening its interaction and partnership with AWEB Secretariat and member EMBs in promoting the activities of the Association as per its objectives and empowering the fellow EMBs through its capacity building programmes. He thanked the Members for the trust and confidence reposed in the Election Commission of India.
The General Assembly also ratified the appointment of the new Vice Chairman of AWEB – Mr. Glen Vuma Mashinini, Chairperson of Election Commission of South Africa and the new Secretary General , Mr Jonghyun Choe, from Republic of Korea. Bidding farewell to Outgoing Secretary General Mr. Yong-Hi Kim A-WEB, Sh Arora complimented Mr Kim for steering the Secretariat in a professional and efficient manner and expanding the activities of A-WEB. Sh Arora placed on record deep gratitude to the Outgoing Chairman Mr. Constantin – Florin Mituletu – Buica, Hon’ble President of the Permanent Electoral Authority of Romania for having shouldered the responsibility of the Chairperson of AWEB for the last two years. Sh Arora commended the other Executive Board Members, as well as the Oversight and Audit Committee members for their valuable and professional contribution in the working of the A-WEB. Sh Arora assured the new team that he would extend wholehearted support and handholding as and when required to carry forward the ideals of AWEB.
The 4th General Assembly of AWEB held at Bengaluru welcomed the EMBs from Somalia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the Executive Board. EMBs from Burkina Faso, Mauritius and Samoa have been admitted to the Oversight and Audit Committee. EMBs from Ukraine, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Political Parties Registration Commission of Sierra Leone, Indonesia and Mauritius joined the A-WEB family as Members and the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) as an Associate Member.