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India, Panama signs MoU on electoral cooperation

NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) and Electoral Tribunal (ET) of Panama today signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Panama City to establish the institutional framework for their ongoing cooperation in the field of election management and administration.

A three member ECI delegation led by Chief Election Commissioner of India (CEC) Rajiv Kumar held interactions with Presiding Magistrate, Electoral Tribunal of Panama Alfredo Juncá Wendehake on strengthening collaboration and knowledge exchange between the two Election Management Bodies (EMBs).Eduardo Valdes Escoffery, first vice presidential magistrate and Luis A. Guerra Morales, second vice presidential magistrate, ET of Panama were also present.

While speaking on the occasion, CEC Kumar said that this MoU reflects the ECI’s ongoing commitment to engage with electoral bodies across the globe and strengthen the democratic processes worldwide.

He added “while learning from best election integrity practices from world over, ECI is committed to sharing its expertise and knowledge in conducting free, fair and transparent elections with its counterparts in other countries.” During the interaction, Presiding Magistrate, ET of Panama Mr. Alfredo discussed collaboration between the two EMBs on use of technology and social media in elections.

ECI has been expanding its links and cooperation with foreign Election Management Bodies (EMBs) through its ‘International Cooperation Programme’. Having signed MoUs with Mexico, Brazil and Chile in the past years, this is the fourth MoU signed by ECI with an EMB in the Latin Americas region, with an overall 31 MoUs with EMBs and international organisations across the world.

The Election Commission of India and the Electoral Tribunal of Panama are members of the Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB). Officials from ET of Panama also attended the international conference on ‘Inclusive Elections and Elections Integrity’ organised by ECI in March 2023 as the lead for ‘Cohort on Elections Integrity’ under the aegis of ‘Summit for Democracy’. Officials from ET of Panama also participated in the ‘International Election Visitors Programme’ hosted by ECI during State Assembly elections in April 2021 and attended a training course on Election Planning under ITEC Programme at IIIDEM in June 2021.

The signing ceremony was attended by representatives from both organisations. The ECI delegation will be attending the 11th Executive Board Meeting of A-WEB and an International Conference at Cartagena, Colombia. The Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide with 119 EMBs as Members & 20 Regional Associations/Organisations as Associate Members.

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