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South Asia needs innovative poll strategies: Quraishi

Delhi,Indo-Pak/Pakistan,Politics, Mon, 30 Apr 2012 IANS

New Delhi, April 30 (IANS) Bitter political competition, use of money power and citizens' apathy in the electoral process call for innovative methods and strategies in the South Asian region, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi said Monday. He also described paid news as an emerging challenge in India.




"South Asian countries have to find innovative methods to deal with the new problems in the electoral field," Quraishi said while addressing the third Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of SAARC Countries here. South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an eight-nation grouping of the subcontinental countries.


"Rising number of political parties, frequent elections, increased number of voters have thrown new challenges before the Election Commission of India and paid news is one of them... (it) is a clandestine deal between politicians and journalists," he added.



The three-day Conference, which started here Monday, brings together chief election commissioners and senior poll officials of the region on a common platform to share best practices in election administration and management.


Some key issues that will be deliberated upon during the conference are: empowerment of election management bodies, inclusive elections, voters' education, controlling money power in elections, and technology for cost-effective elections.


"We, the member countries of SAARC, account for one billion electorate which is about 60-70 percent of the total electorate of the democracies of the world. This is a matter of pride and at the same time of various responsibilities. We are the beacon of democracy for the entire world," Quraishi said.


The discussions will also focus on the final shape of the Forum of SAARC Election Management Bodies, which was agreed at the second conference held in Islamabad in 2011. Bangladesh hosted the first conference in 2010.


Fazel Ahmad Manawi, chairman of the Independent Election Commission of Afghanistan; Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, chief election commissioner of Bangladesh; Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, chief election commissioner of Bhutan; Neel Kantha Upreti, chief election commissioner of Nepal; Ibrahim Waheed, commissioner, Maldives; Justice Muhammad Roshan Essani, member, Election Commission of Pakistan; and Mahinda Deshapriya, commissioner of elections of Sri Lanka, are attending the meeting.


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