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A Report

on
SAARC Training

Election Management- Principles and


Practices
New Delhi, Decemeber 5th2016- December 15th, 2016
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Executive Summary ....................................................................................................................................... 3


Press Note ................................................................................................................................................... 19
Schedule ...................................................................................................................................................... 22
Participants ................................................................................................................................................. 27
Feedback ..................................................................................................................................................... 28
Study on elections in SAARC nations .......................................................................................................... 35
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Executive Summary
Election Management- Principles and Practices
A REPORT on SAARC training
With the vision to be able to conduct free, fair and peaceful elections throughout
the region, SAARC nations came together in Delhi to attend training on Election
Management. This intrinsic Capacity Development course was an India
International Institute of Democracy and Election Management(IIIDEM)
initiative, sponsored by the SAARC Division, Ministry of External Affairs,
Government of India.

The training commenced on December 5th with Honble Election Commissioner of


India, Mr. A.K.Jotis address and concluded on December 15th, 2016 with a
valedictory function. The Course module included key sessions on Electoral
Management Practices, Voter Registration, Conduct of Poll, Voter Education,
Result Management Systems, Electoral Planning, Campaign Monitoring, Electoral
Capacity Building, Election Observation and Electoral Risk Management.

Electoral Management subject-experts from various fields were called in to share


ideas and discuss matters connected to elections. Following is a report defining
each days conduct during the training. 27 participants from Afghanistan,
Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and India attended the course.

Day 1: 5th December, 2016

Inaugural session: The training program was inaugurated by Honble Election


Commissioner of India, Mr. A. K. Joti, Mr Umesh Sinha, Deputy Election
Commissioner, ECI and other senior officers from ECI and IIIDEM attended the
inaugural session. In his welcome speech, Mr A. K. Joti addressed and
acknowledged adaptability and innovation, imperative to improve the election
scenario in all countries of the region.

Following the opening session, participants shared their expectations from the
program alongside their introductions. The first session of the program was
conducted by Dr Noor Mohammad, International Electoral Expert (IIIDEM) where

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

he provided a comprehensive analysis of Free and fair Elections and International


standards. This session was a general outlook

The second half of the day was devoted to a presentation by Afghanistan. The
delegates from Afghanistan discussed the current electoral procedure being
followed in their country and the issues they need to address as a war struck
country.

This was followed by a presentation from Dr Mohammad on Electoral systems


and practices. His session was informative and gave examples of various election
practices popular across the world.

Election Commissioner Mr. A.K.Joti addressing the participants along with other
officials from the Election commission

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Honble Election Commissioner Mr. A.K.Joti and IIIDEM team with SAARC
country officials from EMBs on the first day

Day 2: December 6th, 2016

Dr Bhagbanprakash, Sr. Advisor- IIIDEM talked about the Capacity Building of


Stakeholders in the first session. In this interactive session, inputs from all
participants were sought on who constitute stakeholders in their country.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Dr Bhagbanprakash addressing the delegates during opening ceremony

This was followed by a presentation from Mr Ashish Chakraborty, Consultant


(EDMD) on Delimitation of constituencies and Polling Boundaries. His
presentation gave an overview on the need for delimitation and polling
boundaries and its effect on the constitutional set-up of the country.

In the post lunch session, participants from Bangladesh made a presentation


specifying new electoral reforms in their country and the need for regional
cooperation to achieve free and fair elections.

Thereafter, Mr Ashish Chakraborty conducted a presentation on the topic


Principles of Voter Registration & Type of Voter Registers. This presentation
enabled participants to ascertain the lack of voter registration as one of the prime
flaw in election scenario.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Day 3: December 7th, 2016

The day opened with Dr Bhagbanprakashs presentation on Best practices by


Political Parties. This session outlined the role of political parties in electoral
democracy and their participation in code of conduct.

The second session of the day gave theoretical and hands-on training for
Computerization of electoral rolls and National Voter Service Portal (NVSP)
including online registration. This session by Mr V.N.Shukla, Director- IT at ECI
determined the necessity of technological reforms to improve and bring about
change in election practices.

Participants interacting during a session

The third day of the course saw team Bhutan give their presentation. The
presentation brought to light, the pressing need to provide support and
cooperation to this democratic nation.

The final session on day three of the course was to familiarize the participants
about the types and role of EMBs in election which was undertaken by Dr Noor
Mohammad.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Day 4: December 8th, 2016

The day began with the session on Strategic and Operational Planning by Mr
Ajay Yadav Deputy Secretary- Ministry of Commerce session on. This presentation
and discussion was to determine the various steps involved in the planning
process of elections.

Participants during a session on Strategic and Operational Planning

Former State Election Commissioner of Jharkhand Mr S.D.Sharma, in his session


on Code of Conduct discussed the model code of conduct for election
machinery, specifically political parties and candidates.

Following this was the operational Demo on EVM which was undertaken by
Mr.S.B. Joshi, Secretary at ECI.

In the final session of the day, Mr N.C.Swain, Commissioner Income Tax and
Former Director (Election Expenditure Monitoring) made a presentation on
Campaign Finance, Expenditure limits and practices to monitor the expenditure
during the campaign. It was understood and accepted by all participants that
campaign finance needs constant regulation to make election management fairer.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Day 5 and 6: December 9th, 2016 December 11th, 2016

Field visit for all officials was organized in order to acquaint them with the first
hand knowledge of conducting election process in India. This trip doubled up for a
team building exercise thereby bringing together people from different countries
to acknowledge the common cause of cooperation for smoother, fairer and more
inclusive elections in the entire SAARC region.

Participants from SAARC nations on field trip at the hotel in Agra

The participants were taken to a voter registration centre in Agra where Indian
election officials interacted with delegates regarding registration for elections in
India. Comparisons were drawn regarding the various registration processes in
different countries. Members were also taken on a visit to The Taj Mahal and
Fatehpur Sikri.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

An election Official at Voter Registration Centre in Agra explaining to the


participants election process in India

Delegates from SAARC countries in front of Voter Registration Centre in Agra

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

All participants at The Taj Mahal

Participants at Fatehpur Sikri

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The field visit culminated on December 11th, 2016 with exchange of cultural
knowledge and visit to tourist attractions in Delhi.

Delegates from SAARC nations welcomed in Delhi

Day 7: December 12th, 2016

Mr Dharmendra Kumar, Head of Department-Institute of Medical Sciences,


Physical and Rehabilitation Centre- A&N Islands, undertook the first session on
Day 7. His talk was based on the topic Inclusion of people with disabilities and
suggested means and ways to make differently people an integral part of
elections. This session determined the importance of ECIs vision of No voter
being left behind.

In continuation with the theme of the day being Inclusive Elections, Ms. Laya
Vasudevan, Director-Centre for Legal Aids & Rights, gave a presentation on
Gender Issues with examples from various regions; she established how such
issues were important in making any elections- a success.

Election Officials from Maldives made the next presentation. They gave a brief
about election process in Maldives and how new technological advancements are
changing the course of elections in their country.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The final session of the day was undertaken by Mr S.K. Mendiratta, Legal Advisor
at ECI. His presentation on Electoral Dispute Resolution emphasized the
significance of Election Commissions freedom to execute their powers provided
to them by the Indian Constitution in order to conduct free and fair elections.

Day 9: December 13th, 2016

The Director of Training at IIIDEM, Mr Vivek Khare took a session on Electoral


Risk Management and discussed the need for designing intricate reports for
simplifying and understanding the need for risk management in elections. He also
introduced the participants to the ERM tool which makes Risk management in
elections a much simpler task.

Session on Electoral Risk Management

Mr Ajay Yadav undertook the next session on Technological advancements in


elections during which he discussed the on-going and requisite technological
tools used during elections in practice and in principle. His session enabled the
participants to take fresher ideas home for designing better electoral processes.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Participants during session on Technological advancements

In the second half of the day the participants were taken for a team motivational
exercise to SMAASH- a gaming centre in Cyber hub of Gurgaon.

Day 10- December 14th, 2016

The first Session on day 10 was conducted by Ms Padma Angmo, Director- Voter
Education at ECI. She conducted group exercises during her session on Voter
Education-objectives, methods and approaches. During the exercises, the
participants actively shared information on how voters in their countries were
being mobilized for casting votes, thereby enabling collation of information on
voter education in the SAARC region.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Session on Voter Education

Mr V.N.Shukla, Director-Informatiion Technology- ECI, took a session on Remote


Voting. This presentation broadly brought to light how elections in India have
changed course with the advent of remote voting. The recent drive for service
voters registration was also discussed during the course of this presentation.

Former Additional CEO of Delhi, Mr Neeraj Bharti presented the finer points on
Monitoring of elections on poll day and ECI applications. This session was

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

enlightening and the participants shared the weaknesses in the security


provisions in their respective countries vis--vis administration of elections.

Day 11: December 15th, 2016

The final day started with a talk by Mr S.B.Joshi, Secretary at ECI, IIIDEM. He
interacted with the participants on the use and of EVMs and other essential
requirements for the poll day.

A group exercise in progress

This session was followed by a country specific presentation by Sri Lanka. The
team elaborated on the reforms which have been initiated in Sri Lanka to upgrade
the election process in their country.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The team from Sri Lanka during their presentation

The training culminated with a Valediction Ceremony for all participants. Dr. Noor
Mohammad, (International electoral expert at IIIDEM) and Dr Bhagbanprakash,
(Sr.Advisor at IIIDEM) presented the certificates to all the delegates.

A participant from Maldives accepting the certificate at the Valediction ceremony

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Election Official from Nepal being awarded the certificate at Valediction


Ceremony.

Delegates from SAARC countries with IIIDEM team

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PRESS NOTE

Press Note

IIIDEM conducts training for SAARC nations on Election


Management

SAARC countries representatives attend Election Management Training in Delhi

Acceptance to Change is the Key to Revolutionize Elections: A.K. Joti

With the aim of conducting free, fair, peaceful and inclusive elections in the
country, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has brought together delegates
from Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of SAARC Countries. The officials are
here for training at the India International Institute of Democracy and Election
Management (IIIDEM). The course is being sponsored by the Ministry of
External Affairs, Government of India.

The course commenced on December 5th, 2016 at the Election Commission of


Indias training wing and will continue until December 15th, 2016. The 11 day
course encapsulates several sessions on principles and practices for election
management.

Mr. A. K. Joti - Election Commissioner of India, Mr. Umesh Sinha- Deputy


Election Commissioner, Mr. Dhirendra Ojha- Director, Mr. Vivek Khare- Director
(IIIDEM) and other senior officials from the ECI welcomed participants from Sri
Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan and Afghanistan on Monday.

In his welcome address Mr. A. K. Joti affirmed, For any nation to revolutionize
its election scenario, it is important to accept change and evolve. He also spoke
about growing technological advancements in Indian Elections as the leading
reason behind successful elections across India.

During the program, the 28 participants from SAARC countries will share their
experiences on election situation in their respective countries. Additionally, the
program aims to train officials on various aspects of election management like

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PRESS NOTE

capacity building of stakeholders, code of conduct, voter inclusion and


registration et al.

Following the welcome address, participatory sessions on Free, Fair Elections and
International Standards, Electoral Systems and Practices, Principles of Voter
Registration and Type of Voter Registers to name a few, have already been
conducted, with many more lined up for the coming days.

The participants have unanimously agreed on the continuous need for exchange
of experiences and expertise between the SAARC Electoral Bodies for improved
election management. Leadership training sessions and a field visit to voter
registration centre has also been planned for the program. The course ends on
December 15th, 2016 with a valedictory address.

Mr. A.K. Joti, Election Commissioner addressing the participants

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PRESS NOTE

Mr A.K.Joti, Election Commissioner with participants from Nepal

Mr. A.K.Joti with participants from Bhutan

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SCHEDULE

Schedule
Course ID: Election Management Principles and Practices
Duration: 11 Days Date: 05 15 December, 2016
Programme Director: Dr Noor Mohammad, Electoral Expert&Dr.Bhagbanprakash, Senior
Advisor
Programme Coordinator: Mr. VivekKhare, Director Training&Mr. S.B Joshi, Secretary
(Revised Schedule)
Date & Activity/Content Methods/Materials/ Resource Sub themes/
Time Learning Aids Person/ Learning
Responsibility Outcome/Re
marks
Day 1 - 5th December 2016, Monday
10:00-10:30 Arrival, Reception and Register, Name tag,
Registration Resource kit
10:30-11:15 - Welcome Inaugural Session DEC(US), DG(SJ), Key note
Dir(VK), Course address
Directors, Dir(DO)
& MEA
representatives
11:15-11:30 Health Break
11:30-12:15 Session 2 Warming up and Dr.Bhagbanprakash Participants
Self-introduction, formal introduction , Sr. Advisor and get more
expectation sharing, of the Mr. VivekKhare, familiarised
agenda building, programme/agenda Director with the
ground rules, house facilitated by the process
keeping coordinator

12:15-1:15 Session 3 Power point Dr. Noor


Free and Fair Elections presentation Mohammad,
& International followed by question Electoral Expert
Standards and answer.
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-3:00 Session 4 Power point
Country presentation presentation
by Afghanistan on followed by question
Electoral best and answer.
practices/ lesson learnt
3:00-3:15 Tea Break
3:15-4:30 Session 5 Power point Dr. Noor
Electoral systems & presentation Mohammad,
practices followed by question Electoral Expert

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SCHEDULE

and answer.
Day 2 - 6th December 2016, Tuesday
10:00-11:30 Session 14 Power point, hands- Dr.Bhagbanprakash
Capacity building of on and discussion , Sr. Advisor
stakeholders
11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:45-1:15 Session 7 Power point Mr. Ashish
Delimitation of presentation Chakraborty,
constituency & polling followed by question Consultant (EDMD)
station boundaries and answer
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-3:00 Session 8 Power point
Country presentation presentation
by Bangladesh on followed by question
Electoral best and answer
practices/ lesson learnt
3:00-3:15 Tea Break
3:15-4:30 Session 10 Power point Mr. Ashish
Principles of Voter presentation Chakraborty,
registration & type of followed by question Consultant (EDMD)
voter registers and answer
th
Day3 - 7 December 2016, Wednesday
10:00-11:30 Session 11 Power point Dr.Bhagbanprakash
Political parties - Best presentation, hands- , Sr. Advisor
practices on followed by
question and answer
11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:4501:15 Session 13 Power point, hands- Sh. V.N. Shukla,
Computerization of on and discussion Director (IT)
electoral rolls & NVSP
including online
registration
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-3:00 Session 12 Power point
Country presentation presentation, hands-
by Bhutan on Electoral on followed by
best practices/ lesson question and answer
learnt
3:00-3:15 Tea Break
3:15-4:30 Session 6 Power point Dr. Noor
Types of EMBs presentation Mohammad,
followed by question Electoral Expert
and answer
Day 4 - 8th December 2016, Thursday
10:00-11:30 Session 9 Power point, case Sh. Ajay Yadav,
Strategic and studies and guided Deputy Secretary

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SCHEDULE

operational planning group work


11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:45-1:15 Session 15 Power point, hands- MR. S.D. Sharma,
Codes of Conduct on and discussion Former State
Election
Commissioner,
Jharkhand
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-3:00 Session 16 Power point slide
Country presentation followed by group
by India on Electoral work
best practices/ lesson
learnt
3:00-3:15 Tea Break
3:15-4:30 Session 17 Presentation Mr. N.C. Swain,
Campaign Finance, followed by group Former Director
Expenditure limits and discussion (Election
practices to monitor Expenditure
the expenditure during Monitoring )
the campaign
Day 5 - 9th December 2016, Friday
Field visit
Day 6 - 10th December 2016, Saturday
Day 7 - 11th December 2016, Sunday
Day 8 - 12th December 2016, Monday
10:00-10:30 Session 18
Field visit experience
sharing
10:30-11:30 Session 19 Power point Dr.Dharmendra
Inclusion of people presentation Kumar, Director
with disabilities followed by (PDUIPH)
discussion
11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:45-1:15 Session 20 Power point Ms. LayaVasudevan
Gender issues presentation
followed by
discussion
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-3:00 Session 21 Power point
Country presentation presentation
by Maldives on followed by
Electoral best discussion
practices/ lesson learnt
3:00-3:15 Tea Break
3:15-4:30 Session 22 Power point Mr. S.K.
Electoral Dispute presentation Mendiratta, Legal

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SCHEDULE

Resolution followed by Advisor


discussion
Day 9 - 13thDecember 2016,Tuesday
10:00-11:30 Session 23 Power point Mr. VivekKhare,
Electoral Risk presentation Director(Trg)
Management followed by
discussion
11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:45-1:15 Session 24 Power point Sh. Ajay Yadav,
Demonstration of ECIs presentation Deputy Secretary
Apps for EDR followed by
discussion
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
Leadership training in Gurgaon
Day 10 14th December 2016, Wednesday
10:00-11:30 Session 25 Power point Ms. Padma Angmo,
Voter Education presentation Director
objectives, methods followed by
and approaches discussion
11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:45-1:15 Session 27 Power point
Country presentation presentation
by Nepal on Electoral followed by
best practices/ lesson discussion
learnt
1:15-2:00 Lunch Break
2:00-3:00 Session 29 Power point Sh. V.N. Shukla,
Remote Voting presentation Director (IT)
followed by
discussion
3:00-3:15 Tea Break
3:15-4:30 Session 28 Power point Mr. Neeraj Bharti,
Monitoring of elections presentation Former Additional
on poll day & ECI followed by CEO, Delhi
applications discussion
Day 11 - 15th December 2016, Thursday
10:00-11:30 Session 26 Power point Mr. S.B. Joshi,
Electoral technologies, presentation Secretary, ECI
Mock election & followed by
demonstration of discussion
Indian EVM
11:30-11:45 Tea Break
11:45-12:45 Session 30 Power point
Country presentation presentation
by Sri Lanka on followed by
Electoral best discussion

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SCHEDULE

practices/ lesson learnt


12:45-1:45 Lunch Break
1:45-4:00 Feedback, evaluation Dr. Noor Valedictory
and valedictory Mohammad, address
Electoral Expert,
Dr.Bhagbanprakash
, Sr. Advisor & Mr.
VivekKhare,
Dir(Trg)

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PARTICIPANTS

Participants
Senior Officials of Election Management Bodies from SAARC
Countries
Programme Director: Dr Noor Mohammad, (Electoral Expert) & Dr.
Bhagbanprakash, (Senior Advisor)
Programme Coordinator: Mr. Vivek Khare, Director Training & Mr. S.B Joshi,
Secretary
Name Designation Country
Mr. Khaiber Sayedi Voter Registration Officer Afghanistan
Mr. Abdul Nasir Momand Data Center Manager Afghanistan
Mr. Dost Mohammad
Executive Officer Afghanistan
Sarfaraz
Mr. Sayed Wahidullah Political Parties &
Afghanistan
Hashimi Candidates Service Officer
Mr. Esmatullah Eshrat Electoral Regulations Expert Afghanistan
Mr. Mohammad Aman Planning Manager Afghanistan
Mr. Mohammed Robeyoul Assistant Director (Staff
Bangladesh
Alam Training)
Mr. Mohammad Shah Jalal Thana Election Officer Bangladesh
Mr. Muhammad Enam Private Secretary to Honble
Bangladesh
Uddin Election Commissioner
Mr. Mohammad Al-Mamun Assistant Director Bangladesh
Mr. Sonam Rinchen Delimitation Assistant Bhutan
Mr. Tashi Wangdi Delimitation Assistant I Bhutan
Mr. Nima Tshering Delimitation Assistant Bhutan
Mr. Dorji Phuntsho Delimitation Assistant. I Bhutan
Mr. Tshering Dorji S4A, Delimitation Assistant Bhutan
Ms. Hawwa Fiza Foreign Relation Officer Maldives
Ms. Mariyam Suhaila Finance Officer Maldives
Mr. Mahendra Nath Nepal
Undersecretary (Admn.)
Bhattarai
District Election officer / gaz
Ms. Sunita Thapa Nepal
third class
Mr. Ganesh Adhikari District Election Officer Nepal
Mr. Ayodhya Prasad
District Election Officer Nepal
Bhandari
Mr. Jesuthasan Jeniton Assistant Commissioner Sri Lanka
Mr. Ravindra Subashana Assistant Commissioner of
Sri Lanka
Wedage Elections
Mr. Indunil Sanjeewa Assistant Commissioner of
Sri Lanka
Lasantha Bandara Elections
Mr. Ranasinghe
Hettiarachchige Kapila Administrative Officer Sri Lanka
Ranasinghe
Mr. Samarasinghe
Appuhamilage Darsha Administrative Officer Sri Lanka
Praveena
Mr. B.M. Jotania Deputy Collector, Gujarat India
Mr. R.C.Aggarwal Additional CEO, Rajasthan India

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FEEDBACK

Feedback
Election Management: Principles and Practices
Overall Feedback

The Elections Commission of India (ECI) brought together Election Management


Bodies (EMBs) of SAARC Countries for its fourth course on Election Management.
The course was held from December 5th, 2016 to December 15th, 2016 at the India
International Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM) in New
Delhi, India.

The international training programme included 30 theoretical sessions on different


aspects of election management along with cultural field visits and leadership
building activities.

A questionnaire was designed to evaluate various aspects of the programme


pertaining to:

i. Hospitality and operations


ii. Curriculum design and training sessions
iii. Continued affiliation and interest with IIIDEM
iv. Topics of interest for future international training programs
v. Aspects of training that were enjoyed the most
vi. Suggestions of improving overall execution and coordination of program
sessions
vii. Additional comments/feedback

A 96.15% response rate(25/26 respondents) was recorded amongst all the


respondents who took the survey and the results have been analyzed and
interpreted below.

I. Hospitality and Operations:

With regard to hospitality and operations, a Likert Scale was used to gather
responses from the participants, wherein the rating scheme was as follows:

Needs Improvement- 1
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FEEDBACK

Average- 2
Good- 3
Very Good- 4
Excellent- 5

The analyzed responses have been graphically depicted as follows:

II. Curriculum Design and Training Sessions:

With regard to curriculum design and training sessions, the aforementioned Likert
Scale was used to collect responses from the participants. The analyzed responses
have been graphically
cally depicted as follows:

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FEEDBACK

III. Continued Affiliation and Participation with IIIDEM


IIIDEM:

With regard to continued interest and participation with IIIDEM for future
international training programs, 100% of the participants responded to
yes.. The options provided were:

Yes
No
Maybe

The analyzed responses have been graphically depicted through a pie chart
as follows:

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FEEDBACK

IV. Open Ended Questions:

With regard to topics of interest for future international training


programs (question 4)
4), aspects of the training that were enjoyed the
most(question
(question 5), suggestions of improving overall execution and
coordination of program sessions (question 6) and other additional
comments and feedback (question 7);; the questions were left open ended.
Tabulated answers have bee
been provided in Annexure 1, 2, 3and 4respectively.
4

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FEEDBACK

Annexures

I. Annexure 1:

Response to Question 4:

The most popular choices have been computed via Word Cloud(an Cloud
analytical tool available on Survey Monkey that exports the most
important words and phrases used by respondents. The larger the font
size, the more important or significant the word is)
is)which
which is depicted as
follows:

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FEEDBACK

II. Annexure 2:

Response to Question 5:

The most popular choices have been computed via Word Cloud which is
depicted as follows:

III. Annexure 3:

Response to Question 6:

The most popular choices have been computed via Word Cloud which is depicted as
follows:

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FEEDBACK

IV.Annexure 4:

Response to Question 7:

When asked to enlist any additional comments/ feedback; majority of


the participants expressed gratitude at IIIDEM for the training sessions,
hospitality and inclusive experience. However, two participants
provided other comments which were:

i.Provision of concrete information on best practices in election


management in the international arena
ii.Arranging
Arranging a refresher training session after a year to review
performance based results
results- SAARC Training Reunion

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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON ELECTIONS IN SAARC NATIONS

Study on elections in SAARC nations

A Preliminary Comparative Study of Elections in the SAARC Countries:

Electoral Systems, Strategic Plans and Technological Innovations

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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON ELECTIONS IN SAARC NATIONS

List of Abbreviations

AV - Alternative Vote

BV - Block Vote

BC - Borda Count

CSO - Civil Society Organization

CVS - Contingent Voting System

ECB - Election Commission of Bhutan

ECBD - Election Commission of Bangladesh

ECI - Election Commission of India

ECM - Election Commission of Maldives

ECN - Election Commission of Nepal

ECP - Election Commission of Pakistan

ECSL - Election Commission of Sri Lanka

EMB - Election Management Body

FEMBoSA - The Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia

FPTP - First-Past-The-Post

GIS - Geographic Information System

IDEA - International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

IEC - Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan

IFES - International Foundation for Electoral Systems

IIIDEM - India International Institute of Democracy and Election Management

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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON ELECTIONS IN SAARC NATIONS

LV - Limited Vote

MMP - Mixed Member Proportional Representation

NGO - Non-Governmental Organization

OB - Open Ballot

PR - Proportional Representation

SAARC - South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

SEC - State Election Commission

SNTV - Single Non-Transferable Vote

STV - Single Transferable Vote

TRS - Two-Round System

UN - United Nations

UT - Union Territory

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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON ELECTIONS IN SAARC NATIONS

Contents

List of Abbreviations 38

Introduction 41

Chapter 1: Electoral Systems of SAARC Countries 42

Chapter 2: Strategic Plans of the EMBs in SAARC countries 67

Chapter 3: Technological Innovations 75

Chapter 4: Affirmative Action 79

Conclusion 81

Endnotes 82

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PRELIMINARY STUDY ON ELECTIONS IN SAARC NATIONS

Introduction

franchise is a most fundamental thing in a democracy. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, 15 June,


1949i.

Only the ballot box provides regular opportunities for the public to select
representatives, to hold governments to account, and to kick the rascals out where
necessary. Electoral systems are commonly regarded as some of the most basic
democratic structures, from which much else follows. Pippa Norris, McGuire Lecturer
in Comparative Politics, Harvard University(2004:51) ii.

Over the last three decades, particularly after the demolition of the Berlin Wall,the collapse of
Soviet Union, and consequent end of the Cold War, there has been a resurging interest among
international institutions, major political actors, policy makersand academics, towards the
process of establishingand deepening democracy in order to ensure overall human development
by the gradual eradication of social, cultural and economic inequalities.With the purpose of
promoting modern democratic ideals in the budding polities of the post-Cold War era as well as
that of maintaining the same valuesin the older democracies, international agencies have over
the decades undertaken a a triple strategy: one, effective institution-building; two, serious
engagement with the civil society organizations, NGOs and the media; and three, which is the
most important, the conduct of competitive, free and fair elections iii. In short, what we are
witnessing today, globally, is an increased interest towards electoral engineering, that is,
election management, voter education/awareness, election observing, and capacity building of
all the stakeholdersiv.

This comparative study looks into the question of electoral engineering with special focus on the
electoral systems of the eight member-states of the SAARC, the different strategic plans they
have adopted for conducting elections, and the technological innovations launched by them for
election management.

SAARC, as we know, is a regional forum of the postcolonial democracies of South Asia formed in
1985 and represents a vast region which is immensely diverse in terms of geography and
history, as well as political, social and cultural life. Most of these countrieshave witnessed

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periodic political instabilities and are still struggling to establish a modern representative
democratic polity. It has therefore been a continuous and challenging exercise for the Election
Management Bodies (EMB) in these countries to conduct and manage elections, create voter
awareness, increase participation, as well as institute democratic values among the respective
populations.Therefore the central question of this study is: how the member nation-states of
SAARC are currently approaching the process of electoral engineering and management in their
respective contexts?However, before we enter into a detailed discussion on the aforementioned
question, it must be mentioned that all the intricate features of elections at every level, from local
to national, is beyond the scope of this limited study, and therefore our principal focus shall be
the salient features ofthe electoral systems crafted and implemented by respective EMBs in these
countries.

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Chapter 1: Electoral Systems of SAARC Countries

Democracies around the world have chosen, experimented with, as well asperiodically reformed
theirown electoral systems at various points in time in order to guarantee free and fair elections
based on universal adult suffrage, and have thereby ensured responsible legal-constitutional
representative governments. Modern democratic electoral systems, globally, have been broadly
classified into four heads: majoritarian system, proportional system, semi-proportional, and
combined systemsv.

In the SAARC region, perhaps because ofsimilar colonial histories and contemporarycollective
initiative for South-South cooperation, the democracies of this region have mostlychosen a
commonelectoral system that follows the majoritarian formulae, although variations also exist vi.
The electoral systems of these countries vary in terms of the specific constitutional provisions,
the structure and composition of the legislative institutions, the electoral laws and reforms, and
finally, the demographicand political conditions of the country. Therefore in order to understand
how popular votes are transformed intoseats in the different legislatures, national or local, a
study on the similarities and differences of the different electoral systems is not only
indispensable, but is absolutely necessary for both,knowledge sharing and mutual cooperation,
in order to promote democratic political ideals collectively in the region.

Votes Seats

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Translating votes to seats is the key objective of electoral systems

Afghanistan

Background:

The Islamic Republic of Afghanistan is a late entrant in the SAARC conglomerate, joining as its
eighth member, only in 2007. The country has witnessed decades of acute political instabilities
due to both, domesticconflicts and international political interventions. Afghanistan has seen
four constitutions in 1921, 1923, 1931, and 1964, before adopting the fifth in 2004 after the
Bonn agreement of 2001vii.The current constitution of Afghanistan has established a unitary
state, Islam as the state religion, and has distributed powers between the President, the
bicameral National Assembly, the Grand Assembly or the Loya Jirgaviii, and the Supreme Court.

Election Management Body:

Article 156 of the Constitution has imparted the responsibility of conducting universal, free and
fair elections to an autonomous body called the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan
(IEC). The IEC is headed by a Chairman followed by the Deputy-Chairman, and seven Election
Commissioners. It is in charge ofregistration of voters, preparation and updating of electoral
rolls, delimitation of constituencies, issuing of Code of Conduct, and overall administration and
supervision of the following elections in the Afghanistan:Presidential Elections, Wolesi Jirga
(House of the People) Elections, Provincial Council Elections, District Council Elections, Village
Council Elections, Municipal Council Elections, Elections to the Mayors Offices, and Referenda ix.
Citizens of Afghanistan, who are above 18 years of age, are eligible to register as voters, to whom
the IEC issues individual voter cardsx. Until now, the IEC has conducted three types of elections:
Presidential, Parliamentary/ Wolesi Jirga, and the Provincial Council electionsxi.

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Presidential Election:

The election of the President in Afghanistan follows atwo-round system (TRS). If any presidential
candidate fails to get over 50% of the votes after the first round of elections, then a second round
is conducted within a period of two weeks where only two candidates, who have received the
maximum votes in the first round, contest. For example, eight candidates contested the
presidential elections in 2016 where none could secure over 50% votes. Independent candidate
Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah of the National Coalition got the maximum percentages of
vote (31.56% vote and 45% respectively) and contested for a second round of election, in which
Ghani received 56.44% of votes and defeated Abdullah who got 43.56% of votes. TRS as an
electoral system, however, has its own disadvantages like maximization of cost and resources,
unpredictability of voter turn-out in between the two rounds, chances of formation of minority
governments, and intense polarization in a multi-party system xii.

National Assembly Elections:

The National Assembly of Afghanistan consists of two Houses the Meshrano Jirga or the Upper
House, and the Wolesi Jirga or the Lower House. TheMeshrano Jirga or the Upper House consists
of 102 seats,for which 34 members are nominated by the President for five-year terms, 34
members are indirectly elected following TRS from the Provincial Councils for a term of four
years, and 34 other members are elected by theDistrictCouncils for a three-year term xiii.
Moreover, half of the members appointed by the President must be women, two must be the
representatives of the Kuchi community, and two must represent the disabled community.

The election to the Wolesi Jirgafollows the single non-transferable vote (SNTV) scheme as per the
Electoral Law of 2010. The Lower House consists of 249 seats distributed accordingto the
provincial population estimates, with at least two seats per province, and the members are
elected directly. Moreover, 68 seats are reserved for women in the Wolesi Jirga as per the
Constitution. The last election to the Wolesi Jirga was held in 2010 and the following 2016
election has been postponed due to an impasse resulting from demands for electoral reform.
SNTV also has its drawbacks because it can lead to unpredictable relationship between votes and
seats, difficulty towards formation of party-coalitions, resentment against the election of female

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candidates, and accentuation of internal factionalism of political parties and clientelistic


politicsxiv.

Provincial Elections:

The Provincial elections are conducted at an interval of four years inthe 34 provinces of
Afghanistan. The number of members of each provincial council is determined according to the
population of the same. One-quarter of the seats in each province is reserved for women in order
to ensure greater participation and empowerment in electoral process.

Road Ahead:

Democracy in Afghanistan is persistently encountering numerous challenges. Although the


present constitution has established a democratic polity with institutional centralization, much
of the political power outside Kabul and social/cultural dominance is exercised by the local
elites, war-lords, militias, and drug-magnets in a divided society like Afghanistan xv. The frailty
of the institutional apparatus coupled with the countrys poverty is the biggest impediment to
democracy at present. Since 2004, the voter turn-out has dropped significantly and the average
is slightly below 50%.Experts therefore have often described contemporary Afghanistan as a
stateless democracyxvi.

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Women stand in a queue in Afghanistan. Courtesy: The Hindu

Bangladesh

Background:

Peoples Republic of Bangladesh became a sovereign state after the historic Liberation War in
1971.Bangladeshs President Zia-ur Rahaman (1977-1981), was one of the main architects
behind the idea of SAARC and the country is the founder member of the forum. Initially,
Bangladesh established a unitary state with unicameral parliamentary system. However, after
witnessing successive military coups, the state was transformed into a presidential system in
1975. It was only in 1991 that Bangladesh switched back to parliamentary democracy. The

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President is the ceremonial head of the state, while the Prime Minister is the head of the
government. Article 65 of the Constitution of Bangladesh established the Jatiyo Sangsad
(Parliament) as the highest legislative authority, the members of which are elected by the people.
The lowest tier of legislative structure consists of the local representative bodies like Union
Parishad, Upzilla Parishad, City Corporations, Pouroshavas/Municipal Committees, and Hill
District Councils.

Election Management Body:

Article 118 of the Constitution has established an independent EMB called the Election
Commission of Bangladesh (ECBD) which is responsible for holding elections to the office of the
President and for Members of the Parliament, preparation of electoral rolls, delimitation of
constituencies for the purpose of elections to the parliament, holding elections to the local
representative bodies, and other related functions like preparation of electoral roll, registration
of political parties, issuing of Code of Conduct, and so forth as prescribed by the Constitution or
any other law. The ECBD consists of the Chief Election Commissioner and not more than four
more Election Commissioners. The foundation of the modes and procedures of holding elections
have been laid down by the Representation of the People Order, 1972.

Presidential Elections:

The Presidentis indirectly elected by the members of the Jatiyo Sangsad in an open ballot for a
term of five years.

ParliamentaryElections:

The Jatiyo Sangsad is the sole legislative chamber consisting of 300 members who are directly
elected in single-seat constituencies for a term of five years through first-past-the-post (FPTP)
electoral system. Of these, 50 seats are reserved for women who are elected for the same tenure
by members of the Parliament on the basis of proportional representation through a Single
Transferable Vote (STV). While the constitutional provision for reservation of women in the
Jatiyo Sangsad is a much appreciated step towards gender sensitization in legislative spaces, the
procedure of election to these reserved seats have often failed to bring out the desired outcome.
We shall come back to this discussion in Chapter 4.

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Road Ahead:

Bangladesh has a two-party system, the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party
being the two major political parties. However, there are other Islamist parties (like the Jamaat-
e-Islami), different interest- and pressure-groups, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)
which are powerful actors in the political landscape of the country. Democratic politics in
Bangladesh has gone through rounds of severe political violence, particularly attacks on the
secular forces, Hindu population, atheists and individual activists/writers/bloggers. This
growing atmosphere of violence has thrown a challenge before the state institutions including
the ECBD. Nevertheless,ECBD has put up a commendable performance so far which is evident by
the massive average of over 80% voter turn-out in different elections of the country xvii.

Men and women standing in separate queues on an election day in Bangladesh.

Courtesy: Progress Bangladesh

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A polling official in Bangladesh emptying the ballot box after election. Courtesy: The Hindu

Bhutan

Background:

The Himalayan country of Bhutan is worlds youngest democracy. In March, 2008, a leading
Indian newspaperThe Hindu reported: .[A]nabsolute monarchy gave way to a constitutional
monarchy, a new Constitution mandating a parliamentary democracy was adopted, and, for the
first time, the people of Bhutan voted, on the basis of universal suffrage, to elect a new
Parliament consisting of a National Council or Upper House with 25 members, and a National
Assembly or Lower House with 47 members xviii.Democracy thus gradually took roots in Bhutan,
a founding member state of SAARC. The state is still headed by the hereditary King, but the
legislative powers are vested with the nascent bi-cameral Parliament with two Houses, namely
the Gyelyong Tshogde or the National Council, and the Gyelyong Tshogdu or the National
Assembly.

Election Management Body:

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The Election Act of 2008xix has instituted the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB), an
autonomous body under the Constitution. The King appoints the Chief Election Commissioner
and two other Election Commissioners as the head of the ECB. The ECB is responsible for holding
elections to the National Council, the National Assembly, the Local Governments like the
Dzongkhags, Dungkhags, Gewogs, Chiwogs, and Thromdes, and the Referenda; registration of
voters, preparation of Electoral Rolls, and issuing of Voter Cards, registration of political parties,
and issuing of Code of Conduct; and other election related matters. The ECB has an ancillary
commission called the Delimitation Commission which is responsible for the drawing and re-
drawing of the single-member constituencies.

National Council Elections:

The Gyelyong Tshogde or the National Assembly has 25 seats, among which 20 members, who
dont have any party affiliation, are popularly elected in single-member constituencies for a term
of five years, and 5 members nominated by the King. The20 members are elected following FPTP
system.

National Assembly Elections:

The National Assembly can have a maximum of 47 members at any time elected by the people in
single-member constituencies for a term of five years in a multi-party system.The election to the
National Assembly is conducted following the TRS. The two parties with the highest votes
contested in the second round, and thereafter the party with the highest vote percentage was
declared the winner.In 2013, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) won the election in the second
round over the Bhutan Peace and Prosperity Party (BPPP) although BPPP managed to get a
higher percentage of votes in the first round.

Road Ahead:

As a new institution, the ECB has successfully conducted national and local electionssince 2008
at different levels, and the average voter turn-out has been 60% which is an excellent record for
the youngest democracy of the world.

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Voters standing in a queue in Bhutan showing their voter cards. Courtesy: The Hindu

India

Background:

India is the largest democracy in the world with about 850 million voters. It is a vast country
which has maintained a democratic polity for almost seven decades in spite of multiple
diversities in terms of language, religion, geography and ethnicity and persistent inequalities in
terms of caste, economy, and political power.The Constitution of India adopted in 1950
established a sovereign federal republic with a parliamentary form of government, with the
President as the nominal head of the state. The Parliament is bicameral: the Lok Sabha or Lower

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House, comprising of 545 members, is the House of People;whereas the Rajya Sabha or the
Upper House comprising of 245 members is the Council of States.

Election Management Body:

Article 324 of the Constitution instituted Election Commission of India (ECI) as an independent
constitutional body in 1950 and the vests it with the powers of superintendence, direction and
control of the elections to both the Houses of the Parliament as well as the State Legislatures and
Union Territories (UTs). The ECI is also responsible for the preparation of Electoral Roll,
periodical registration of voters and purification of the electoral roll, delimitation of
constituencies, registration of political parties and allotment of symbols, issuing of Voter Cards,
issuing and implementation of Code of Conduct, and related functions as per law. The ECI
secretariat is constituted by the Chief Election Commissioner and two other Election
Commissionersxx. The elections to the local representative bodies in the states at the level of
Corporations, Municipalities, Zilla Parishads, District Panchayats, Panchayat Samitis, and Gram
Panchayats are administered and supervised by the State Election Commissions (SEC),
constituted under the Constitution (Seventy-third and Seventy-fourth) Amendments Act, 1992.
The ECI operates following the detailed provisions laid out under the Representation of the
People Act, 1951 and the rules made thereunder.

Presidential Election:

The President of India is elected indirectly for a term of five years through an electoral college
consisting of the elected members of both the Houses of the Parliament as well as the elected
members of the state assemblies/UTs, in accordance to thesystem of proportional
representation by means of the single transferable vote as provided by Article 55(3) of the
Constitutionxxi.

Parliamentary Election:

In the Lok Sabha,543 members are directly elected for a term of five years by plurality votes in
single-member constituencies through the FPTP system, while 2 members are nominated by the
President. On the other hand, the 245 members of the Rajya Sabha are indirectly elected by the

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state and territorial legislatures through STV for a six-year terms, while 12 seats are reserved in
this House for members appointed by the President.

State Elections:

The Union of India has 29 states and 7 UTs, all of which have their own state-governments.The
ECI conducts elections to these federal legislatures at an interval of five years and the members
of these bodies are directly elected in single-member constituencies following the FPTP system.

Road Ahead:

India, one of the founding members of SAARC, has been the most stable democracy in the region.
Barring the imposition of emergency between 1975-77, the country hasnt witnessed any
military coup or, dictatorial regime since independence and there has always been a peaceful
transfer of power between successive governments. The ECI has proven its excellence as an
extremely successful EMB, and has administered 16 Lok Sabha elections as well asover 300 state
assembly/UT elections since 1952. Theaverage turn-out of the Indian electorate currently is little
above 60%xxii. However, ECI till date confronts hurdles in conducting elections in some parts of
the country where the civil uprisings and other political instabilities persist. In short, it can be
evidently concluded that the ECI has been an effective institution because of its skillful control
over the monumental task of election administration in the largest democracy of the world.

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Women standing a queue on a polling day in India. Courtesy: India Today

Sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaiks sculpture on voter awareness in the sea-beach at Puri, Orissa, India.

Courtesy: eOdisha

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Maldives

Background:

Maldives, a founding member of SAARC, is an archipelago in the Indian Ocean located in the
south-west of India and Sri Lanka. In 1968, Maldives became a republic by abolishing the
Sultanate. However, after a series of coups and civil mutinies, it was only in 2008 that the
country adopted a new constitution for establishing a democratic polity. The Constitution of
2008 establishes Maldives as a presidential, representative anddemocratic republic. The
President is the head of the state and the legislature called the Peoples Majlis is the unicameral
popular House comprising of 85 seats.

Election Management Body:

The Election Commission of Maldives (ECM) is an independent, impartial institution constituted


under Article 276 of the Constitution, and is guided by the Elections Commission Act (2008) to
manage free and fair elections to the different representative offices in the country. The ECM is a
five-member body and the members are appointed by the President of Maldives for a period of
five years with the approval from the Peoples Majlis. The ECM conducts and manages elections
to the offices of the President and the Peoples Majlis, superintendent referenda as prescribed by
law, delimitation of constituencies, preparation and updating of Electoral Roll,regular
registration of voters, registration of political parties, formulation of electoral policies,
promotion of public awareness and increase participation of stakeholders, as well as deliberation
of other issues concerning elections as per law.

PresidentialElection:

The President is directly elected by the people for a term of five years by an absolute majority
vote through TRS. The two recipients of the highest percentage of votesin the first round contest
in the second round, and thereafter the winner is elected by absolute majority vote.

ParliamentaryElections:

In the Peoples Majlis, the 85 members are elected directly for a period of five years by plurality
votes in single-member constituencies. The election to the Majlis follows the FPTP system. The

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President forms the cabinet and is the head of the government as well as the state. Maldives is
divided into 20 districts, the administrative heads of which are chosen by the government of the
country.

Road Ahead:

Maldives, although a budding democracy, has witnessed peaceful elections in the last decade, and
the average voter turn-out is an overwhelming 93%.

A differently-abled voter casts his vote in Male, Maldives. Courtesy: BBC

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Nepal

Background:

Nepal is an emerging democracy which transitioned from constitutional monarchy to a


competitive multi-party federal democratic republic in 2008. After passing through the difficult
phases of drafting a constitution by two consecutive constituent assemblies, Nepal finally came
up with its constitution in 2015. The Constitution instituted the President as the head of the
state, the Prime Minister as the head of the government.The governmental structure of the
republic is divided into three levels: the Federation, the State, and the Local level. The federal
legislature is bicameral comprising of the Pratinidhi Sabha (House of Representatives) or Lower
House and the Rashtriya Sabha (the National Assembly) or Upper House.

ElectionManagementBody:

Article 245-247 of the Constitution of Nepal institutes the Election Commission of Nepal (ECN) as
an autonomous body vested with the powers to conduct periodic free and fair elections on the
basis of universal adult franchise. The ECN is responsible for the conduct, supervision and
control of the elections to the offices of the President, the Vice-President, and the Members of the
Federal Parliament, Provincial Assemblies, and Local Bodies. It also administers the delimitation
of constituencies, registration of voters, preparation and revision of the electoral roll,
registration of political parties, and other functions as per the law. The ECN can also hold
referendum on any subject of national importance as per the provisions laid down by the
Constitution and the Federal Law. The IEC is a five-member commission headed by the Chief
Election Commissioner which is appointed by the President upon the recommendation of the
Constitutional Councilxxiii.

PresidentialElections:

The President of Nepal is be elected by an electoral college composed of the members of the
Federal Parliament and of the State Assemblies xxiv. The system of election is TRS.

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ParliamentaryElections:

The Pratinidhi Sabhaconsists of 275 members who are elected for a term of five years in the
following fashion: (a) 165 members are to be elected directly in single-member constituencies
through the FPTP system; (b) 110 members are to be elected through proportional electoral
system where voters vote for political parties, with the whole country being considered as a
single election constituencyxxv. The Rashtriya Sabhaconsists59 members amongst who are
indirectly elected for six-year tenure, andmust have, at least three women, one Dalit and one
from persons with disabilities or minorities, from each Stateby an electoral collegecomposed of
members of the State Assembly, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Village Bodies, and
Mayors and Deputy-Mayors of the Municipalities, with different weightage of the vote of the
members of the State Assembly, chairpersons and vice-chairpersons of the Village Bodies, and
Mayors and Deputy-Mayors of the Municipalities, as provided for in the Federal Law; and three
members consisting of a least one woman nominated by the President on recommendations of
the Government of Nepalxxvi.

Road Ahead:

The present government of Nepal is the second Constituent Assembly which was converted into
a legislative Parliament after the promulgation of the new constitution in September, 2015. The
failure of the first constituent assembly to come up with a satisfactory draft led to formation of
the second constituent assembly in 2012. The present political situation in Nepal is in a
transformative phase, although there is a disagreement among the different political actors over
the constitution. The operation of ECN in the coming days, as we can infer, is a
challengingexercisein order to establish a democratic polity.

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Women showing their voter cards while standing in a queue on an election day in Nepal.

Courtesy: Wall Street Journal

An elderly voter casts his vote during an election in Nepal. Courtesy: IndianExpress

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Pakistan

Background:

The Islamic Republic of Pakistan became anindependent sovereign nation-state in 1947 and is
one of the founding members of the SAARC. Almost immediately after independence, the political
life of Pakistan witnessed a series of military coups and serious political disorder. The country
adopted twoconstitutions before adopting the present constitution in 1973. The Constitution
declares Pakistan as a federal republic with a bicameral parliamentary democratic system. The
Majlis-e-Shoora or the Parliament has two Houses: the Senate or Upper House comprising of 104
seats including 17 seats reserved for women and 17 seats reserved for technocrats and Ulema,
whereas the National Assembly or Lower House which has 342 seats including 60 seats reserved
for women and 10 seats reserved for non-Muslims.

Election Management Body:

Article 218 institutes the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as an independent body for the
purpose of conducting, supervising and controlling elections at different levels of the country.
The ECP is a five-member commission headed by a Chief Election Commissioner and four
commissioners from the four provinces, namely, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber
Pakhtunkhwa whoare judges of the High Courts of the respective provinces. The commission is
appointed by the President for a term of five years. The ECP is responsible for the holding
elections to the offices of the President, the Members of the National Assembly and Provincial
Assemblies, the Senate, and referenda as and when ordered by the President. It is also vested
with the powers of preparation and updating of the electoral roll, delimitation of constituencies,
registration of voters, appointment of Election Tribunals, registration of political parties,
issuance of Code of Conduct, and other functions as prescribed by the Constitution and law.

Presidential Election:

The President of Pakistan is elected by a secret ballot through an electoral college comprising of
the members of the Senate, the members of the National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies.
The election is conducted following the AV system.

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ParliamentaryElections:

The members of the Senate are elected for a term of six years in accordance with the system of
proportional representation by means of a STV through electoral colleges xxvii. The members of
the National Assembly and provincial assemblies are elected for a term of five years through
direct voting in a single-member constituency following the FPTP system. The members of the
reserved seats are elected in accordance with law through the proportional representation
system of political partys lists of candidates on the basis of the total number of General seats
secured by each political party in the National Assembly or in a Provincial Assembly with 5%
thresholdxxviii.The seats in the National Assembly are distributed proportionally between the four
provinces (Punjab: 148 seats, Sindh: 61 seats, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa: 35 seats, and Balochistan:
14 seats), the Federally Administered Tribal Area (12 seats), and the Federal Capital (2 seats).

Local GovernmentElections:

The elections to the Local Government institutions are held at an interval of four years by the
ECP. The candidates for these elections cannot be members of any political party.

RoadAhead:

In the last decade, the ECP has efficiently elections in Pakistan and there has been peaceful
transfer of power between successive governments. There has also been a rise of coalition
politics in the 2000s although the general elections in 2013 saw a single-party majority at the
National Assembly. The average voter turn-out in Pakistan is still low at around 42%, and the
biggest challenge before ECP is to create voter awareness and participation of the stakeholders
in elections in order to strengthen the democratic political set up.

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Women casting their votes on an election day in Pakistan. Courtesy: Huffington Post

A voter registers her vote during a local election in Pakistan. Courtesy: Dawn

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Sri Lanka

Background:

The Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, located in the Indian Ocean south of India, is a
sovereign nation-state governed by a presidential system introduced under the constitution of
1978. The country isa founding member of the SAARC. Sri Lanka has passed through periodic
political instabilities and changes post-independence. After achieving autonomy under the
British Common Wealth as the Dominion of Ceylon, the first constitution adopted was in 1948
which was replaced in 1972 by the First Republican Constitution of Sri Lanka. However, the 1972
constitution was again replaced in 1978 by the Second Republican Constitution.

Election Management Body:

Interestingly, although the state and the government structures were laid down by the
Constitution, the Election Commission of Sri Lanka (ECSL) has been appointed only on 13 th
November, 2015xxix. Before the appointment of the ECSL, elections were managed and controlled
by an independent government body, called the Department of Elections headed by the
Commissioner of Elections. The idea of an autonomous Election Commission as a constitutional
body was floated in 2000, and thereafter in the 2001, the 17th amendment to the Constitution
provided for such an institution which is to be appointed by the President with the
recommendations from the Constitutional Council.

Currently the ECSL is a four-member body headed by a chairman. The ECSL is responsible for the
administration and control of five types of elections: the Presidential, the Parliamentary, the
Provincial Council elections, the Local Authorities elections, and Referenda. Other than that it
also performs regular functions like delimitation of constituencies, registration of voters and
preparation of the electoral roll, registration of political parties, create voter awareness, and
other functions as prescribed by the constitution or law.

PresidentialElections:

The constitution establishes the President as the head of the state and government of Sri Lanka.
The President is directly elected for a term of six years as prescribed by the Presidential

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Elections Act, No.15 of 1981, through a contingent vote system. Under this system, the voters
give up to three preferences in the first round of elections. If no candidate is able to secure a
majority after the first round, all but the first two candidates from the first round are eliminated
and a second round is held thereafter.

ParliamentaryElections:

In the parliamentary elections, among the 225 members, 196 are directly elected by an open list
proportional representation system in 22 multi-member constituencies, and 29 seats are
allocated in a nation-wide constituency. Political parties must have a threshold of one-eighth of
votes to win seats in the respective constituency.

Provincial Council Elections:

The lowest tier of the representative government structure consists of the Provincial Councils
which are directly elected bodies responsible for the administration of the urban and the
Pradeshiya Sabha areas.

RoadAhead:

Although the newly appointed ECSL hasnt yet conducted a major election, the election-scenario
in Sri Lanka has been managed successfully so far with an average voter turn-out of about 74%.

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Voters going to the polling station to cast their votes in Sri Lanka. Courtesy: The Voting News

Voter awareness campaign in Sri Lanka. Courtesy: ECSL

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We now have an overview of the eight SAARC member-states, their state and government
structure, the respective EMBs, their structures and functions, and finally, the different electoral
systems,ranging from majoritarian to mixed systems of voting(See Table 1). This comparison
also shows us how election management in many of these South Asian states is a challenging
exercise. The politics of these countries also differs in myriad ways due to the different historical
trajectories, encounter with colonialism, linguistic-ethnic-cultural-geographical differences, and
above all, the specific state-structures. Therefore in order to administer elections in these
postcolonial polities and safeguard the democratic structures, it is necessary for the respective
EMBs to formulate strategic plans, the discussion of which is the next concern of this study.

Electoral Systems

Plurality - Majority Mixed PR Others

FPTP Parallel List PR SNTV


BV MMP STV LV
AV BC
TRS

Different types of Electoral Systems


Source: Electoral System Design: The New International IDEA Handbook (2005), p. 28

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Table 1: Electoral Systems of SAARC countriesxxx

Serial Country SAARC Government EMB Electoral System Elections


No. membership Structure
1 Afghanistan 2007 - President, Independent President: TRS; Presidential,
present Bi-cameral Election Meshrano Jigra: Parliamentary,
Parliament Commission TRS& Provincial
of Nomination;
Afghanistan Wolesi Jirga:
(2004- SNTV
present)
2 Bangladesh 1985 - President, Election President:FPTP; President,
present Unicameral Commission Jatiyo Sangsad: Parliament,
Jatiyo of FPTP, Local Government
Sangsad Bangladesh PR,&STV
(1972-
present)
3 Bhutan 1985 - King, Election Gyelyong National Council,
present Bi-cameral Commission Tshogde:FPTP & National
Parliament of Bhutan Nomination Assembly
(2008- Gyelyong
present) Tshogdu:
TRS
4 India 1985 - President, Election President:AV; President,
present Bi-cameral Commission Rajya Sabha: Parliament,
Parliament of India STV; State
(1950- Lok Sabha: Assemblies/Union
present) FPTP Territories
5 Maldives 1985 - President, Election President: President,
present Unicameral Commission TRS; Peoples Majlis
Peoples of Maldives PeoplesMajlis:
Majlis (2008- FPTV
present)
6 Nepal 1985 - President, Election President: President,
present Bi-cameral Commission TRS; Parliament,
Parliament of Nepal Rashtriya Sabha: Local
(2015- FPTP; Governments
present) PratinidhiSabha:
FPTP & PR
7 Pakistan 1985 - President, Election President: AV; President,
present Bi-cameral Commission Senate: Parliament,
Parliament of Pakistan PR & STV Provincial
(1956- NationalAssembly: Elections
present) FPTP &PR
8 Sri Lanka 1985 - President, Election President: President,
present Unicameral Commission CVS; Parliament,
Parliament of Parliament: Provincial
Sri Lanka PR Council,
(2015- Local Authorities
present)

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Chapter 2: Strategic Plans of the EMBs in SAARC countries

Strategy is a key component of electoral engineering. The strategic plans for electoral
engineering and managementof the EMBs of the SAARC countries, broadly speaking, aims at two
goals: one, peaceful conduct of independent, free and fair elections based on universal adult
suffrage and efficient control of the election machinery to avoid as well as fight corruption in the
its administration; and two, create voter awareness and civic participation in electoral
democracy.

Peaceful Conduct of Elections

The election-scene of the SAARC countries, as we have discussed, vary distinctively from each
other. Elections in India, for example, has been smooth, free and fair with peaceful transfer of
powers between governments both at the national and state levels since independence.
However, ECI has also confronted complaints of booth capturing, vote rigging, use of muscle and
money to influence voters, and serious violence, particularly in the 1980s and 1990s. When
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) were introduced in Indian elections, many political parties
came up with allegations of scientific rigging against their opponents, an interesting term that
referred to the act of rigging a newly arrived technological device. These allegations still come up
in many parts of the country, but broadly speaking, the ECI has efficiently managed elections so
far, and hasrelatively been the most efficient EMB in the region.

The situation, on the other hand, is completely different in Afghanistan. Conducting elections is a
mammoth task for the IEC because of the strong influence of war-lords, rampant booth
capturing, intimidation of voters, and kidnapping of electoralofficials. In Bangladesh, the process
of elections in the last few decades has been smooth, but due to the actions of different
fundamentalist groups, the ECBD faces many challenges. Moreover, the society in Bangladesh as
a whole is so politically polarized that it is sometimes difficult for ECBD to allocate electoral
officials during elections. Many such contingencies are needed to be tackled by the EMBs. The
EMBs of Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka are comparatively newand elections have been
smooth in these countries, although the future elections shall bring them more experience as
well as challenges. Finally, the ECP is another older EMB and one which has undergone serious
restructuring in the course of its operation post-independence. The disturbances in the political
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landscape of the Pakistan have often thrown serious obstacles before the smooth functioning of
the ECP which, nevertheless, is considered as an efficient institution.

The above description brings before us a comparative picture of the challenges the different
EMBs encounter while administering elections. The EMBs, too, respond to these obstacles,
through strategic planning and implementation. In order to conduct peaceful free and fair
elections, these bodies firstly follow a general strategy: maintenance of autonomy, transparency,
neutrality and professionalism of the EMB; dialogue with the media to act as watchdog of
democracy and ears of the EMB; collaborations with non-governmental organizations (NGO),
civil society organizations (CSO), international agencies, and other EMBs; monitoring of the
electoral process through deployment of adequate security personnel; and issuing and
implementation of Code of Conduct for all stakeholders. For instance, the IEC in Afghanistan has
received support and assistance from the United Nations (UN) and other international political
actors for administering elections in the country. The ECI in India has also collaborated with UN
and other agencies like International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International
Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) for its strategic program. Bhutan for
example received assistance from ECI for conducting elections in the country. The picture is
similar in other countries when it comes to strategic collaborations with different expert
institutions for smooth administration of elections in the respective countries.

For the Voters

The voter is the building block of a representative democratic polity. Therefore the task of voter
education, awareness, and ensuring their fullest participation is the central mission of all EMBs.
When electoral engineering emerged as a new trend in the era of globalization alongwith
proliferation of newer technologies, EMBs of different countries engaged themselves intensively
in comprehensive voter education programs, and designed their strategies accordingly. The
strategic plans of the different EMBs are mostly chalked out for a stipulated period of time,
usually five years, and are re-designed or reformed after reviewing the success of the preceding
plans. A comparison of the strategic plans forelection administration and creating voter
awareness/education undertaken by the different EMBs of SAARC is given in Table 2.

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Table 2: Strategic Plansxxxi

Serial Country EMB Strategic Plans


No.
1. Afghanistan IEC Strategic Plan 2011-2016
Formation of the Post-Election Strategic Working Group
after 2005 elections as a separate branch for strategic
planning.
Enhancement of public confidence and the element of trust
in electoral process and institutional authority of IEC
Strengthening the institutional structure of IEC: building
infrastructure, bringing in more resources, decreasing
electoral expenses, security management, and so forth.
Consultation with all stakeholders through
workshops/coordination meetings, publication of policy
documents, undertaking public outreach programmes and
publication of brochures,leaflets, manuals, posters, flip
charts, bill boards, etc.
Partnership with media, NGOs and CSOs and formation of
the Electoral Media Commission
Continuous communication with all the electoral
stakeholders and increase the level of awareness and
knowledge on elections
Increase the participation of women in electoral processes.
2. Bangladesh ECBD Strategic Plan 2011-2016
Promotion and protection of the legal-procedural-
behavioural independence of ECBD and enhancement of the
element of trust
Maintenance of the authentic electoral roll, digitization and
regular updating of the same, and issuing of voter cards
Conduct free and fair elections, review of electoral process,
introduction of EVMs
Strengthen professional capacity of the election officials

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Support towards democratic culture through partnership


with domestic and international agencies like NGOs, CSOs,
international organizations, and the media
Organize voter awareness programme and easy
explanations of the electoral process to the voters. Increase
participation of women
Establishment of an Electoral Training Institute
3. Bhutan ECB Initiation of The Bhutan Democracy Dialogue guided by a
Steering Committee in the ECB
Institution of Democracy Clubs in schools and other
tertiary institutes in order to promote democratic values,
voter awareness for more informed electoral participation,
as well as register prospective voters
Initiation of Volunteer-Voice (Volunteer for Voter
Information, Communication and Education) to campaign at
local levels to impart voter education/awareness
Establishment of NETWORK (Network of Bhutanese for
Electoral Democracy in Bhutan) which will grow into a
think-tank of ECB with academics, politicians, intellectuals
as resource persons
Observing 15 September, the International Democracy Day
as the National Voters Day
Carry out scientific research to strengthen the ECB
infrastructure, for campaign and administration of elections
Issuance of strategic plans on election basis. For example,
the ECB had issued a strategic plan for the conduct of Local
Government elections in 2016.
4. India ECI Strategic Plan 2016-2025
Initiation of Systematic Voters Education and Electoral
Participation Programme (SVEEP) was done in 2009:
Increasing electoral participation through voter registration
and turn-out as well as increasing qualitative participation
in terms of ethical and informed voting; Continuation of
electoral education through easy explanation of election
process, impartingknowledge about rights and duties of
citizens, information about technological devices and their

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use, and campaigns for all stakeholders


Advocating and strengthening of legal framework of
electoral governance; and strengthening Legal Division of
the Commission
Strengthening the operational environment to facilitate
uniformity as well as dynamism in administrative
functioning
Providing sufficient manpower and infrastructural
resources, including technological resources, to the ECI,
CEO, DEO, ERO, RO, AERO, ARO and BLO
Carrying out Delimitation as per constitutional provisions
Strengthening planning processes and management
capabilities in the areas of polling station, security, election
material, transport, man-power, grievances, etc.
Innovation in voting method and EVM technology
Special arrangements for registration of service-voters,
overseas voters, election officials, differently-abled voters,
etc.; Improving the accessibility for voter registration,
simplification of the process, strengthening ERMs,
enhancing EPIC quality
Continuous capacity building of stakeholders through policy
building and reforms
Building partnerships for wider engagement with NGOs,
CSOs, Media and international agencies.
Technological innovations for enhancing effectiveness and
efficiency of the electoral processes
Archiving, documentation and digitisation of materials
related to election processes
Dialogue with other democratic nations, EMBs, and
international agencies for knowledge acquisition and
exchange
Institutionalizing and strengthening risk management
strategies
5. Maldives ECM Strategic Plan 2011-2015
Strengthening the institution through building supporting
environment, organizational structure, budgetary

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autonomy, establishing sub-offices, adequate use of


information technology, promotion of the identity of ECM,
collaborations with UN agencies and other international
institutions
Establish and maintain an environment conducive to free
and fair elections
Online registration of voters, verification by ECB, and web-
based communication with electors/stakeholders
Participation and regulation of political parties
Strengthen the legislative framework for election
management and political parties
Undertake voter information and awareness programmes
Building a competent workforce
Develop mechanism for archiving and documenting
materials related to the ECM
6. Nepal ECN Strategic Plan 2015-2019
Institutional development of ECN through its infrastructural
development, strategic planning formulation, evaluation,
monitoring, and working on electoral legal framework
Organization and capacity building through infrastructural
and human resource development, dialogue with media and
other agencies, communication with all stakeholders,
gender mainstreaming within ECN
Inclusive registration of voters/political parties
Electoral education and organizational outreach vis--vis
voters and other stakeholders
Logistic management and effective electoral operations
7. Pakistan ECP Strategic Plan 2014-2018
Reforming electoral legal framework
Strengthening electoral operations
Resolution of electoral disputes
Strengthening the autonomy of ECP, the budgeting system
to maximize transparency; Setting up an electoral finance
unit
Voter registration, and preparation of electoral rolls and
purification of the same

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Promotion of civic and voter education


Institutionalization of measures for maximizing womens,
minorities, and differently-abled persons participation in
electoral processes without fear or coercion
Training and capacity building of all stakeholders through
regular communication
Improve the organization, human resources, and offices of
the ECP
8. Sri Lanka ECSL Strategic Plan 2020
Implementing a nation-wide citizen education programme
on existing election laws and procedure
Regularize technological tools to distribute voter
education messages
Training CSOs to conduct outreach on citizens voting
rights and responsibilities
Developing and distributing a wide array of voter
education materials
Co-sponsoring Governance and Elections (BRIDGE)
training with international participation to formulate
strategic voter education

The Common Man


by R.K. Laxman,
Indian Cartoonist

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Chapter 3: Technological Innovations

Technology has acquired a fresh analytical charge in the era of globalization. Scientifically, it is
growing exponentially with new tools and devices penetrating our everyday lives on a regular
basis; commercially, it is a booming industry; socially, it is becoming increasingly indispensable;
and culturally it is coupled with the notions of scientificism and hence, value-neutrality.Politics
and governance have also readily responded to the demands of the time and embraced the
flourishing technological amenities. Needless to say, technology today is an integral part of
electoral engineering as well. The last component of this study is therefore a comparison of the
various technological innovations made by the members of SAARCin the area of electoral
awareness and management.

Within the SAARC countries, as we have already noticed, most of the EMBs are relatively recent
and still engaged in the process of institution-building. These EMBs are still in their nascent stage
and, as we have discussed in the previous section, are keen on strengthening the institutions so
that they are administratively efficient and technologically updated. For that purpose, there is a
sincere endeavor among these EMBs to symbiotically engage with each other for knowledge
acquisition and exchange. For instance, The Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia
(FEMBoSA) was instituted in 2010 for the purpose of mutual assistance and knowledge sharing
regarding electoral engineering and management. Again in 2015, the officials of IEC of
Afghanistan attended a workshop on technological innovations in elections at India International
Institute of Democracy and Election Management (IIIDEM), a think tank and training institute of
ECI. In the last couple of decades therefore, all the EMBs have invested in developing new
technological tools and sharing similar amenities with others in order to improve management
and services vis--vis elections in their respective countries. Let us now have a look at the
different technological innovations/applicationsvis--vis election and its management in these
countries in the following Table 3.

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Table 3: Technological Innovationsxxxii

Serial Country EMB Technological Innovations/Applications


No.
1. Afghanistan IEC Dissemination of information regarding different elections,
the IEC, voter awareness, gender sensitization programme
through web-based communication
Election Day reporting database for polling station
allocation, team tracking, open and close polling station
report
Material tracking database
Campaign finance online system to record and publish the
expenditure of candidates
Online nomination filing system
Tally system for result management with double-blind
system and audit capacity
Audit system
Well-equipped GIS
2. Bangladesh ECBD Online registration of voters
Issuing of smart National Identity cards for citizens with
biometric details (finger print and iris)
Election Management System (EMS)
Candidate Information Management System (CIMS)
Result Management System (RMS)
GIS
EVM
Database connectivity for verification of identity by other
departments
3. Bhutan ECB Online registration of voters, registration status check
through VPIC number
Bhutan Electoral Roll Management System (BERMS)

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Electoral Roll Search System (ERSS)


E-learning system for voter education: VALUES (Virtual
Ambient for Learning and Understanding the Electoral
System)
Use of mobile apps/SMS-based system for communication
4. India ECI Introduction of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail in EVMs
Online registration of voters
Online Public Grievance Management System (SUGAM)
Call centres for all stakeholders
Online information sharing; Online awareness and
information dissemination for electors
Electoral Roll Management System (ERMS)
Use of satellite imagery and Geographic Information System
(GIS) for election planning
Personnel and Observer management through phone and
web
Sensitivity analysis of polling stations, videography of
selected phases of election, video-conferencing
SMS poll monitoring system, Expenditure monitoring, Web-
based monitoring, and communication system
Launch of NETRA, a drone for election monitoring in 2016
5. Maldives ECM Online nomination for candidates
Web-based communication with electors/other
stakeholders
Use of Twitter, Facebook, TV, Radio for voter awareness
campaign
6. Nepal ECN Biometric voter register system and computerised electoral
roll
Web-based communication with voters/other stakeholders
GIS
Videography
District Level Voter List Application (DVLA) AND Central
Level Voter List Application (CVLA)
Select use of EVMs
Mobile EIIC for voter education

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7. Pakistan ECP Use of EVMs


Online registration of voters and registration check
Collaboration between ECP and NADRA (National Database
and Registration Authority) for preparation and updating of
computerised electoral rolls
Voter SMS and web-basedservice
Videography
8. Sri Lanka ECSL Online registration of voters through Voters Registration
Management System
Web-based management of elections and communication
with electors/other stakeholders
Online Use of social media for awareness and
dissemination of election information
Online registration of complains using ECSLs web portal

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The Technology Tree

C
Chapter 4: Affirmative Action

Many of the SAARC members have made legal


legal-constitutional
constitutional provisions for affirmative action
policies in order to guarantee social justice and increase the representation of the historically
excluded sections of population viz. women, LGBT
LGBT-Queer community,
nity, minorities, and differently-
differently
abled people in the areas of legislation, employment, education and culture.The low
representation and participation of these population groups in the public domain of activities
has become a common-sense
sense in this region. T
This
his is true for elections as well. Therefore it is a key

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concern of all the EMBs in the region to reach out to these groups. Moreover, the different
legislatures of these member-states also have reserved seats for women, minorities, and
differently-abled people to ensure their greater participation in law-making and administration.
The following table (Table 4) shall give us a comparison of the provisions of affirmative action in
the national legislatures of these countries.

Womens suffrage movement in Chicago, USA in the late 19 th century.

Courtesy: Huffington Post

Table 4: Affirmative Action in Legislaturesxxxiii

Country Women Minorities Differently-abled

Afghanistan MeshranoJirga: 17 seats MeshranoJirga: 2 seats for MeshranoJirga: 2 seats


WolesiJirga: 68 seats Kuchi community

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Bangladesh JatiyoSangsad: 50 seats

Bhutan

India LokSabha:
84 seats for Scheduled Castes
47 seats for Scheduled Tribes
Maldives

Nepal Rashtriya Sabha: 3 seats 1 seat for Dalits 1 seat


PratinidhiSabha: 33% of
the total seats

Pakistan Senate:17 seats NationalAssembly:


NationalAssembly: 10 seats
60 seats

Sri Lanka

Conclusion

The principle idea behind the functioning of all EMBs in South Asia is that democracy must be
defended. And the hero of a democratic polity is the voter, the citizen whose active participation
in democratic structures is the central necessity. Although the SAARC countries share a host of

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similarities in terms of geographical location, colonial history, postcolonial political anxieties like
nation-building; the democratic institutions and statecraft in these countries have been designed
and developed differently. A number of these nation-states have adopted modern constitutional
representative democratic polity only in the recent past; while others have and are still
witnessing numerous instabilities and obstacles in the smooth functioning of the state and its
institutions. The respective EMBs of these countries are also encountering newer challenges
periodically and trying to tackle them efficiently to the best of their capacities. The SAARC
countries differ in terms of electoral systems and have adopted specific strategies coupledwith
innovative technologies to meet their purposes. The respective EMBs have also collaborated with
both domestic and international agencies to facilitate the administration of elections in a more
proficient, transparent and speedy way. What is much required at this juncture is further
research on elections, electoral systems, legal-constitutional electoral reforms, electoral disputes
and their resolution, and demography of the different states. In addition, the EMBs need to
launch more intense and user-friendly programs for voters and citizens, as well as enter into
future collaborations with each other for mutual benefits and knowledge sharing. Democratic
ideals can proliferate only when we start thinking beyond the nation as much as thinking within
it.

Endnotes:

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i Cited in S.Y. Quraishi, 2014, An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian Election, New Delhi: Rupa
Publications, p.29
ii Pippa Norris, 2004, Electoral Engineering: Voting Rules and Political Behavior, New York: Cambridge University

Press, p.3; Norris, P. and Inglehart, R., 2000, Womens Representation and Electoral systems, The International
Encyclopedia of Elections, 348, p.51.
iii Ibid, p.3

iv Ibid

v For detailed discussion on the classification of electoral systems, see ibid, pp.39-65

vi The majoritarian formulae include different features like the First-Past-the-Post, the Second Ballot, the Bloc Vote,

Single Non-Transferable Vote, and the Alternative Vote Systems. See ibid, p.40
vii The Bonn agreement was signed after the post-Taliban conflict. For details, see link:
http://www.constitutionnet.org/country/constitutional-history-afghanistan (accessed on 23 Novemeber, 2016)
viii The Grand Assembly or Loya Jirga is the highest legislative body of Afghanistan comprised of the National

Assembly along with the chairs of the local councils. The National Assembly or the bicameral Parliament is the
highest legislative authority of the state which comprises the lower house called the Wolesi Jirga or the House of the
People, and the Meshrano Jirga or the House of the Elders.
ix See link: http://www.iec.org.af/2012-05-29-07-06-38/vision-mission (accessed on 2 December, 2016)
x See link: http://www.iec.org.af/2012-05-31-16-45-49/voter-registration (accessed on 23 November, 2016)

xi For a detailed description of the elections in Afghanistan, see link: http://www.iec.org.af/2012-05-31-16-45-

49/explain-elections (accessed on 23 November, 2016)


xii Carol J. Riphenburg, 2007, Electoral Systems in a Divided Society: The Case of Afghanistan, British Journal of

Middle Eastern Studies, 34(1), pp.15-16


xiii See link: http://www.electionguide.org/countries/id/2/ (accessed on 1 December, 2016)
xiv Ibid, pp. 16-17

xv Ibid

xvi Ibid; also see Barnett R. Rubin, April 2004, (Re)Building Afghanistan: The Folly of Stateless Democracy, Current

History, 103(672), pp.165-170


xvii See link: http://www.electionguide.org/countries/id/19/ (accessed on 1 December, 2016)
xviii See link: http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/how-democracy-took-roots-in-
bhutan/article7054496.ece (accessed on 24 November, 2016)
xix See link: http://www.ecb.bt/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/ElectionActEnglish.pdf (accessed on 24 November,

2016)
xx At the time of set up, ECI was a single-member commission. In 1989, the commission became a multi-member

body with two other commissioners. However, the arrangement was short-lived and in 1990, ECI once again became
a single-member body. In October 1993, the ECI was restructured as a three-member commission and it hasnt
changed since then. See link: http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/election-machinery.aspx (accessed on 24 November, 2016)
xxi See link: http://lawmin.nic.in/olwing/coi/coi-english/coi-4March2016.pdf (accessed on 9 December, 2016)
xxii See link: http://www.electionguide.org/countries/id/101/ (accessed on 2 December, 2016)
xxiii See link: http://www.election.gov.np/election/en/overview-28.html (accessed on 25 November, 2016)

xxiv See link: http://www.nepalembassy-germany.com/pdfs/Constitution_full_english.pdf, p.59 (accessed on 25

November, 2016), p.50


xxvIbid

xxvi Ibid, p.61

xxviiFor details of the election to the Senate in Pakistan, see link: https://ecp.gov.pk/frmGenericPage.aspx?PageID=30

(accessed on 25 November, 2016)


xxviiiSee link: https://ecp.gov.pk/frmGenericPage.aspx?PageID=30 (accessed on 25 November, 2016); also see:

http://www.electionguide.org/countries/id/164/(accessed on 25 November, 2016)


xxixhttp://www.slelections.gov.lk/web/index.php/en (accessed on 27 November, 2016)

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xxxInformation furnished in Table 1 is taken from the following websites: http://www.electionguide.org/countries/;


http://www.iec.org.af/; http://www.ec.org.bd/English/index.php; http://www.ecb.bt/;
http://eci.nic.in/eci/eci.html; http://www.elections.gov.mv/index-2.html; http://www.election.gov.np/election/np;
https://ecp.gov.pk/; http://www.slelections.gov.lk/web/index.php/en (27 November, 2016)

xxxiInformation furnished in Table 2 are available at:


http://www.iec.org.af/pdf/plan/updated_iec_five_year_strategic_plan_05_june_2012_eng.pdf;
http://sembec.org.bd/sites/default/files/Strategic_Plan_English_Version.pdf; http://www.ecb.bt/2016/strategy.pdf
(only for local elections in 2016);
http://eci.nic.in/eci_main/Library&Publications/Strategic_Plan_Book_16062016.pdf;
http://172.16.1.15/en/core/downloads/ECSP_English_FINAL.pdf;
http://www.election.gov.np/election/uploads/files/pdf/strategic_plan_English.pdf;
http://testecp.ecp.gov.pk/sp/downloads/ECP-SP-2014-2018%20d26%202014-05-31%20en.pdf;
http://ecisveep.nic.in/IC/data/SriLanka_IC.pdf (accessed on 28 November, 2016)

xxxii Information furnished in Table 3 are available at: http://www.iec.org.af/; https://services.nidw.gov.bd/;


http://www.ecb.bt/?page_id=3321; S.Y. Quraishi, 2014, An Undocumented Wonder: The Making of the Great Indian
Election, New Delhi: Rupa Publications, pp. 170-205; http://www.elections.gov.mv/index-2.html;
http://www.election.gov.np/election/en; https://ecp.gov.pk/Documents/Newsletter.pdf,
https://ecp.gov.pk/frmvideogallery.aspx, https://ecp.gov.pk/default.aspx;
http://www.slelections.gov.lk/web/index.php/en/ (all links accessed on 29 November, 2016)
xxxiii Information furnished in Table 4 have been collected from the websites of the EMBs of the member states of

SAARC and IFES data (www.electionguide.org). Im also grateful to all the delegates of the seven SAARC countries
(except Pakistan) who attended the international training course on Election Management: Principles and Practices
at IIIDEM, New Delhi from 5-15 December, 2016 for sharing information regarding the electoral systems of their
respective countries.

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