Election Commission Fiji thrilled to be part of India Elections

Election Commission Fiji thrilled to be part of India Elections

By Alipate Narawa
Monday 13/05/2024
Commissioner Dr. Atu Bain and Electoral Commission of Fiji (ECF) Chairperson, Ms. Barbara Malimali with an official from the Election Commission of India at one of the polling stations

The Election Commission of Fiji are thrilled to have been 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, including Fiji, witnessed firsthand the exemplary polling process and innovative initiatives implemented by the Electoral Commission of India (ECI).

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

The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission of Fiji, Barbara Malimali was accompanied by Dr. Atu Emberson-Bain and the delegation from Fiji had the privilege of participating in the International Election Visitor Program.

The visit provided invaluable insights into electoral best practices and innovative approaches to voter engagement and participation.

Malimali expressed their admiration for the transparency and inclusivity of the Indian electoral process, with many highlighting initiatives such as green polling stations and the widespread use of technology, including the randomization of Electronic Voting Machines which includes the Voter Verified Paper Audit Trails, as inspirational.

She says 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.

Malimali says 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.

Dr. Atu Emberson-Bain says it was wonderful to see women managing a polling station - 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.

She says 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 exchange of ideas and experiences between the ECI and the ECF delegation serves as a cornerstone in enhancing electoral practices and capacity building, both domestically and internationally.

Chief Electoral Commissioner Mr. Rajiv Kumar emphasized the significance of these collaborative endeavours, reaffirming the ECI's unwavering commitment to upholding democratic values and conducting free, fair, and impartial elections.

Kumar reiterated the commission's dedication to ensuring a level playing field for all stakeholders and harnessing the lessons learned from the Indian electoral process to strengthen democracy globally.

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