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Delegates from 40 countries to study Indian election (Election Special)

IANS  |  New Delhi 

Delegates from 40 countries of Africa and Latin America will witness the world's largest democratic exercise in April-May when an over 800-million strong electorate, the world's largest, votes for India's new government.

"The delegates, in groups of four-five, will be visiting several states. They will also visit the polling stations," an Election Commission official, who did not wish to be named, told IANS.

An electorate of 814 million - nearly three times the population of the United States - would be eligible to vote in the nine-phased elections from April 7 to May 12 across 28 states and seven union territories to pick 543 members of the 16th Lok Sabha. In addition, the president nominates two members of the Anglo-Indian community to make it a 545-member house.

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in coordination with the Election Commission, had last year invited 24 delegates from eight countries of Africa and the Middle East to witness the assembly elections. The delegates had also evinced interest in India's electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Delegates from South Sudan, Jordan, Gambia and Guinea Bissau and representatives from Iraq, Lebanon, Nigeria and Senegal had witnessed the polling process in Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.

"For the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections, in consultation with the ECI, we are looking to provide learning and knowledge sharing opportunities for 40 countries. This is a process currently under way, and we will share more information in due course," a UNDP official told IANS.

He said the UNDP has facilitated learning programmes for several countries in transition and newly-formed democracies to learn from India's extensive experience in election management.

He also said that they were committed to sharing India's experience of electoral management with countries across the world.

The Election Commission of India and the UNDP have inked an MoU that focuses on South-South Cooperation in the area of election management.

(Alok Singh can be contacted at

First Published: Thu, March 20 2014. 17:02 IST