Saturday, May 25, 2024
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ECF officials attend Indian elections

The Election Commission of Fiji (ECF) was part of the largest-ever contingent of international delegates during the recently concluded General Elections in India.

As part of the International Elections Visitor Program, delegates from 23 countries witnessed firsthand the exemplary polling process and innovative initiatives implemented by the Electoral Commission of India (ECI).

ECF was represented by Chairperson Barbara Malimali and Dr Atu Emberson-Bain.

They had the privilege of participating in the International Election Visitor Program and the visit provided invaluable insights into electoral best practices and innovative approaches to voter engagement and participation.

Malimali expressed her admiration for the transparency and inclusivity of the Indian electoral process and highlighted initiatives such as green polling stations and the widespread use of technology, including the randomization of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) which includes the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs), as inspirational.

Moreover, she was impressed by the unwavering faith and commitment of Indian voters towards democratic ideals, underscoring the significance of the electoral process in fostering civic engagement and strengthening democratic principles.

“There is a lot that Fiji can learn from India, not only was the election peaceful, inclusive, accessible and it was undertaken in a festive mood – Fiji used to have something similar prior to 2014 and something that can be re-introduced as a way to create more awareness and engagement on our electoral process,” she said.

Furthermore, Dr Bain stated, “It was wonderful to see women managing a polling station (the “pink booth”) – everything running so smoothly, calmly, and diligently.”

“And then to learn about similar PWD booths where men and women with disabilities are given similar responsibility for running a polling station.”

“This is really walking the talk on disability inclusion, going beyond ramp access and Braille signage, and is consistent with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities Convention, especially Article 29, which recognises the right of persons with disabilities to effectively and fully participate in political and public life on an equal basis with others.”

The participation of the Electoral Commission of Fiji delegation underscores the shared commitment to enhancing electoral integrity and promoting democratic principles worldwide.

The international observer mission to India was from 4 to 9 May 2024 and delegation arrived back into the country on Sunday 12 May.

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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