Kathmandu- A two-day Sixth Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum (AESF-VI) convened in Kathmandu today.
The event themed ‘ Building Sustainable Democracies: Addressing Electoral Challenges and Opportunities’ has brought together election management bodies, civil society organisations and other stakeholders from across Asia to engage and collaborate.
Inaugurating the Forum co-hosted by the Election Commission and the Asian Network for Free Election, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Prakash Saud, the Election Commission functions as an independent body constitutionally and it has successfully conducted the three-level elections for two terms.
According to him, the government is open to reform the existing electoral laws being based on the submissions for ensuring free, fair and impartial elections. As he said, our electoral experiences and learning be utilized for strengthening democracy and making the electoral systems and procedures compatible with time.
The Minister was of the view that security, social justice, climate change, artificial intelligence, and social sites are now key components of the electoral impartiality and the event is expected to discuss these issues broadly with logical conclusions.
Giving his keynote speech at an inaugural session, Dr Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi, former Chief Election Commissioner from India, said only noble electoral practices would strengthen democracy and there should be guarantee of proportional electoral system and State’s facilities to the citizens in democracy.
According to him, a mixed electoral system of India and the practice of a parliamentary hearing before the appointment of Election Commissioner are exemplary for other nations. Chief Election Commissioner, Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, expressed his hope that the Forum would provide an additional guideline to further strengthen democracy norms, values and commitments.
“Collective commitments are essential to seek wider participations of the citizens in the election and make democracy result-oriented.” Election Commissioner Dr Janaki Kumari Tuladhar was hopeful that the event would prove a milestone for a sustainable democracy. Over 200 people have joined the Forum which is to see 21 paper presentations on seven topics by experts from Nepal and other countries, and wrap up by issuing a Kathmandu declaration.