Bitter political competition, use of money power and apathy of citizens in the electoral process call for innovative methods and strategies in the South Asian region, Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi said Monday.
"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.
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.
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.