Eternal Vigilance is price that Democratic Countries pay for liberty, said Chief Election Commissioner of India Sunil Arora. Speaking at the Extraordinary Session of the Executive Board of Association of World Election Bodies in Bengaluru, last evening, he said that this is particularly true of emerging democracies where despite the political will of the citizens, the persisting statusquoist system suffers from ingrained weakness of institutions and trained manpower to conduct free, fair and participatory elections in a transparent manner.
An electoral miscarriage might breed distrust towards democratic institutions, he cautioned. “This is where the importance of a multi-lateral organization like A-WEB comes to the fore”, he stated. He recounted that the framers of Indian Constitution were such visionaries that they chose to setup the institution of Election Commission on 25th January 1950 ie. one day before promulgation and formal adoption of our constitution on 26th January 1950.
He said Election Commission of India (ECI) has successfully conducted 17 national elections and 388 state elections, thus strengthening the nation’s faith in electoral democracy. He added “ECI stands today as an institution of repute in imparting knowledge and sharing of best practices and skills with other EMBs through its robust International Cooperation Programme.” ECI has signed Memorandum of Understanding on Electoral Cooperation with 26 EMBs and International Organisations.
He recalled that ECI had been closely associated with the formation process of the A-WEB during 2011-12, and was one of the founding members of AWEB in October 2013. India has been member of the Executive Board since 2013 and took over as Vice-Chair of AWEB since 2017. India continues to promote AWEB’s mission wholeheartedly to promote partnership among Electoral Management Bodies (EMBs) around the world.