The Election Commission of India announced on Wednesday that India has been unanimously elected as the new Chair of the Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) for the period 2022-2024.

The decision was made at a recent meeting of the Executive Board and General Assembly in Manila, Philippines, according to ECI. AAEA is now chaired by the Commission on Elections in Manila. Russia, Uzbekistan, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Taiwan, and the Philippines have joined the Executive Board as new members.

ECI’s three-member delegation to the Executive Board meeting in Manila included Deputy Election Commissioner Nitesh Vyas, Manipur Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajesh Agrawal, and CEO Rajasthan Praveen Gupta, who presented the work plan for 2022-23 as well as futuristic activities for 2023-24 to the Executive Board.

According to the ECI, a presentation on ‘Gender Issues in Elections’ was given, which highlighted India’s many deliberate and targeted efforts to break socio-political barriers in electoral and political processes for inclusive and participatory elections.

The Association of Asian Election Authorities’ mission is to provide a non-partisan forum in the Asian region for election authorities to share experiences and best practices in order to discuss and act on ways to promote open and transparent elections with the goal of supporting good governance and democracy.

Officials from various AAEA member nations have been attending India International Institute for Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) International Training Programs on a regular basis.

More than 250 officials from AAEA member nations have participated in these programmes since 2019. IIIDEM also offers specialized capacity-building training programmes for AAEA member countries. During the years 2021-22, 50 Bangladesh Election Commission officers were trained.

Delegates from the AAEA have also been attending the Election Commission of India’s International Election Visitors Program on a regular basis. The 3rd International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IEVP), conducted by ECI during the Assembly Elections in 2022, drew 62 officials from 12 AAEA members. AAEA is also a member of the Association of World Election Bodies, which has 118 members (A-WEB).

The Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) was founded in 1998 as a result of a resolution passed by participants at the Symposium on Asian Elections in the Twenty-First Century, held in Manila, Philippines from January 26 to 29, 1997. AAEA now has 20 Asian EMBs as members. ECI is a founding member of the AAEA’s EMB and served on the AAEA’s Executive Board as Vice-Chair from 2011 to 2013 and Chair from 2014 to 2016.