The Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega, OFR, has been conferred with the award of Electoral Commissioner of the Year. The award was bestowed on him at the maiden International Electoral Awards organised by the International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Jega also picked the award slated for ‘Recognition for Outstanding Achievements’ prize in the Election Management Award category, while former United States Secretary of State Madeleine Albright picked the prize for Lifetime Achievement Award.
A statement by Chief Press Secretary to INEC Chairman, Kayode Robert Idowu said the London-based ICPS held the award ceremony on the heels of the 7th International Electoral Affairs Symposium – a two-day knowledge sharing and peer review event that drew participants from Election Management Bodies (EMBs) and associated organisations across the world to the Malaysian capital.
He explained countries like Mauritius, Ghana, Pakistan, United States, Mongolia, Britain, Slovenia, Thailand, Uganda, Zambia, Philippines, Malawi, Peru, South Africa, Azerbaijan, Kenya, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Samoa, Albania, Romania, Singapore, Malaysia and a host of other countries were represented at the occasion.
He acknowledged that the ICPS noted that it “takes into consideration the in-country and international engagement of the Commissioner; management of a complex structure in difficult situations; personal integrity recognised by the international community; and contribution to strengthening the international electoral community.”
The award on‘Recognition for Outstanding Achievements’ in the election management was won by the State Election Commission of the Republic of Slovenia. The third nominee on the shortlist was Irena Hadziabdic, a member of the Central Election Commission of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
ICPS said the award “recognises electoral management approaches by Electoral Management Bodies which were able to overcome remarkable country-specific challenges; guaranteeing a secure, transparent and smooth running of elections.”
The Electoral Awards Committee was composed of Dr. Michael Bruter, Executive Director of the International Centre of Electoral Psychology; Pierre Garrone, Head of the Division of Election and Referendums at the Secretariat of the Venice Commission (Council of Europe); Professor Miranda Greenstreet, Co-Chair of the Coalition of Domestic Election Observers (CODEO) in Ghana; Ambassador Maria Leissner, Secretary-General of the Community of Democracies; and Sir Graham Watson MEP, Member of the European Parliament and President of the European Liberal Democrat and Reform Party.
Others were Bill Sweeney, President and CEO of the International Federation of Electoral Systems (IFES); Matt Gokhool, CEO of ICPS and Chairman, International Centre for Electoral Psychology; Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof, Chairman of the Electoral Commission of Malaysia; and Charles Lasham, Director of Electoral Affairs at ICPS.
There were 15 prize-categories in the ICPS Awards. Other individual and corporate prize winners include; Irfan Abdool Rahman, Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius (International Institutional Engagement Award); Maj.-General MD. Shafiq-ul Islam (rtd.), Executive Director, CRP of Bangladesh (Electoral Conflict Resolution Award); Bruno Kaufmann, Chairman of the Election Commission of Falun, Sweden (Citizens Engagement Award); State Election Commission of the Republic of Slovenia (Electoral Management Award); Republic of Philippines Commission on Elections (Accessibility Award); Electoral Commission of South Africa (Equality Award); and Natia Zaalishvili, Director, Centre for Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Trainings, Central Election Commission of Georgia (First Time Voter Award).
Others were Michael Ertel, Seminole County Supervisor of Elections (Electoral Ergonomy Award); State Election Commission of the Republic of Slovenia (Commission of the Year Award); Dr. Anil Seal, Director, Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, University of Cambridge (ICPS Award for the Promotion of International Best Practice); Hannah Foster, Executive Director, The African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ICPS Award for the Promotion of Democracy in Africa); Election Commission of Pakistan (ICPS Award for innovative use of Technology); and Supreme Election Council of Turkey (ICPS Award for Managing Transition).