Members of civil society organizations and election management bodies from 36 countries across and beyond Asia had successfully gathered the 3rd Asian Electoral Stakeholders Forum (AESF-3) held in Bali, Indonesia from 22-24 August 2016.
The third AESF worked on them “Transparency and Integrity for Quality Elections.” The two-day event was proceeded with plenary and breakout sessions that discussed issues related to the advancement of free and fair elections consistent with universally accepted principles and in the principles set forth in the Ban Bangkok Declaration and Dili indicators for Democratic Elections.
The participants hailed from EMBs and CSOs from Asian Countries and INGOs who are working in relation to the promotion of democracy in their respective countries in the region. For wider engagement, AESF-3 also welcomed participants from outside the region to share the Asian experience of bringing together EMBs and CSOs in order to achieve a common goal.
For two days, participants to the Forum discussed the principles, standards, and challenges of electoral transparency; use of technology to enhance transparency and integrity of elections; challenges to democratic elections in Asia and how to address them; and strategies for fostering electoral transparency and integrity.
Participants also divided themselves into workshop groups to discuss challenges, best practices, and areas of cooperation on specific topics such as voter registration, polling, and counting; voter education and inclusiveness; campaign finance; and Electoral Dispute Resolution. Parts of the workshop results were initial agreements to make a follow-up on the possible areas of cooperation identified in order to advance electoral democracy.
AESF-3 concluded with all participants endorsing the Bali Commitment: Electoral Integrity: Eight Keys to Transparency.
The Asian Electoral Stakeholder Forum is a continuing engagement between EMBs and NGOs in Asia with the aim of strengthening cooperation in order to enhance the state of democratic elections. This year the AESF is to be celebrated in Bandung, Capital of West Java, Indonesia with the support and cooperation of the General Elections Commission Republic of Indonesia, Komisi Pemilihan Umum (KPU) Indonesia. KPU has always been actively engaged since the 1st AESF in Bangkok, Thailand on December 11-12, 2012 that led to the adoption of the Bangkok Declaration on Free and fair elections by Asian Stakeholders. (www.aesfanfrel.org). The KPU is successful in advancing democratic elections in Indonesia to be more transparent and credible. The second AESF convened stakeholders in Dili, capital of the Republic Democratic of Timor-Leste (RDTL) on March 18-19, 2015 with the support of the Commission National of Elections (CNE).