A delegation of the Election Commission of India (ECI) is visiting Russia to study poll management.
During a weeklong stay, the delegation that comprises ECI Principal Secretary Tapas Kumar and Chief Election Officer, Haryana State, Srikant Walgad, will study the organisation of the Russian electoral process, the technology and equipment used to conduct elections, as well as personnel training and voter education.
The visit opens a programme of exchanges between the election commissions of both countries under a memorandum of understanding signed less than a year ago.
To familiarise themselves with the Russian election process in provinces, the ECI officials will travel to Tula — a city of 500,000 residents and situated about 200 km south of Moscow — where they will watch local elections on October 14.
Welcoming the delegation, Russia’s Central Election Commission Chairman Vadim Churov said both countries faced similar challenges in organising elections such as the federal structure of the state, big territory and many remote localities. He praised the election management in India, which is ahead of Russia in electronic voting and personnel training.
Russia plans to introduce nationwide electronic voting in 2015. Its current election system is strongly criticised for lack of transparency and accountability. Elections to the Russian Parliament last December triggered mass protests against alleged violations and vote rigging.
Mr. Kumar said he and his Haryana colleague were aware of the Russian election controversy, but were not planning to ask questions about it.