24 January 2020
New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday took over as the new Chair of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) for the year 2020 at the annual meeting of the poll management bodies of SAARC countries.
According to a release from the poll panel, Arora took over from outgoing Chair K.M. Nurul Huda of Bangladesh during the 10th meeting of FEMBoSA here.
In his address, Huda said that in keeping with the objectives of the Forum, members have been sharing experiences and skills and taking steps to enhance cooperation with other Election Management Bodies (EMBs).
The CEC Bangladesh presented the Stewardship Report on the activities of FEMBoSA members during the last year.
After taking the logo of FEMBoSA from the outgoing chief, Arora said: "The democratic scaffold and superstructure can be enacted and strengthened on the principle that the political power is validated by the will of the people."
"In democracy, power is won and legitimised only by regular elections, based on the universal, equal, direct and freely expressed suffrage. Strong participatory and inclusive democracies are better able to ensure good governance and empowerment of all the citizens," he said.
Arora said that for capacity building, Election Commission of India established the India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) in June 2011.
According to the officials, Pakistan was not invited to the event due to the strained bilateral ties between the two countries.
The Election Commission also signed an agreement with the Independent National Electoral Commission of Afghanistan for cooperation in the field of election management on the sidelines of the international conference on ''Strengthening Institutional Capacity''.
The poll panel also signed an MoU with Independent Authority for Election in Tunisia for cooperation in the field of election management, a spokesperson said.
FEMBoSA was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries in 2012. The last annual meeting of FEMBoSA was held in Dhaka in September 2018. Besides the ECI, the other 7 members are EMBs from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.