Updated on 28 Oct 2021, 3:43 pm
(Representational Image: Unsplash)
The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Thursday said the chief election commissioner of India Sushil Chandra and chairman of Central Election Commission of Uzbekistan (CEC-U) Zainiddin M Nizamkhodjaev held a bilateral meeting on electoral cooperation on October 21.
The meeting was held during the visit of a three-member delegation led by Sushil Chandra to Uzbekistan in order to observe the conduct of the Presidential elections held on October 24, ECI stated in a release.
The delegation made the visit on the invitation of Zainiddin M Nizamkhodjaev, the ECI stated.
The election, conducted under the new election code, was keenly watched by the international community, it stated.
The chairman, CEC-U briefed Chandra about the various measures taken for conducting election, including single electronic voters’ list, arrangements for in-person voting on poll day and early voting as well as COVID safety arrangements, the ECI stated.
Chandra spoke about the recent conduct of elections in India and various avenues for further strengthening electoral ties between the two countries through signing of MoU on electoral cooperation, training and capacity building programmes which the ECI would be happy to organise for Uzbekistan election officials, it added.
The ECI added that delegates from Uzbekistan have been avidly participating in ECI’s International Election Visitors Programmes (IEVP) organised during elections and officials from Uzbekistan have been attending training programmes at ECI under the ITEC programme.
Under the Uzbekistan Election law, the President is elected for a five-year term from a single nationwide constituency. The election administration follows a three-tier structure, consisting of the Central Election Commission, 14 district election commissions and 10,760 Precinct Election Commissions, it stated.
It added that Uzbekistan has an electorate of about 20 million and each polling station caters to a maximum of 3,000 voters. Early voting system was in place from October 14-20 and 421,618 people used the early voting facility, including 120,524 from abroad, it added.
It further stated that only registered political parties can nominate candidates to run in elections. Five candidates - four men and one woman candidate - contested the presidential elections in Uzbekistan.
The campaign for elections is funded by the State. A number of infographics carrying photographs and information about the five candidates was displayed at prominent locations in Uzbekistan, it added
It further stated that the Indian delegation visited the 7th and 14th district election commissions to obtain an overview of the electoral administration, procedures and initiatives of the CEC of Uzbekistan.
Thereafter, the delegations visited polling stations in Uzbekistan in order to observe the election process in detail. Various aspects of conducting elections, including voter lists, identification of voters, early voting mechanisms, arrangements for facilitation of the elderly and persons with disabilities, Covid safety protocols, polling station readiness and casting of vote by ballot paper were observed across different polling stations, the release stated.
The release further stated that presence of representatives of political parties/candidates and mahalla committees were noticed at polling booths. Voters were identified through passports or driving license documents. A count of voters including first time voters and those voting from home was being maintained. Hourly reports of voter turnout were sent to CEC electronically, it mentioned.
Chandra also took the opportunity to interact with the officials of the Indian Embassy led by the ambassador of India to Uzbekistan, Manish Prabhat and briefed them about the Electronic Transfer of Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) facilities for voting by service voters, the release stated.
The interaction was followed by an active and vibrant interaction on Indian elections with the representatives of Non-Resident Indian community based in Tashkent.
The CEC also paid floral tributes to India’s second Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri at his memorial in Tashkent, it added.