Indian EVMs for elections in Egypt

New Delhi: As Egypt prepares for presidential and parliamentary elections later this year, India will be sending some Electronic Voting Machines to that country on a pilot basis.

The Egyptian side showed its interest in the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), Election Commission`s Director General Akshay Rout said, adding the EC has agreed to provide some EVMs on a pilot basis for the upcoming polls there.

Egypt`s desire was conveyed to an EC delegation led by Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi which was on a two-visit to that country last week.

"The Egyptian side expressed its interest in sharing India`s experience particularly in voters` education and enhancing voters participation in the electoral process," Rout said.

The delegation demonstrated the functioning of the EVMs and answered technical queries, he said.

Egypt`s military rulers had last month announced an interim Constitution and said presidential elections would be held by November after Hosni Mubarak was ousted in a popular uprising in February.

Quraishi, who had held separate meetings with the Supreme Committee for Presidential Elections and High Election Committee for Parliamentary Elections, told the Egyptian side to develop their own electronic voting systems and assured that the EC would provide the required technical support.

The CEC also agreed to give some quantity of indelible ink, which is used at the time of voters` casting their votes, Rout said, adding Egypt was highly appreciative of India`s gesture.

"It was a satisfactory and productive visit and the necessary follow-up measures will be taken through diplomatic channels", Rout said.

The visit took place at the request of the present interim government in Egypt to explore the possibilities of India`s support to that country in its electoral process.

Acknowledging India`s vast experience in the electoral process, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) had early this week requested New Delhi`s participation at a consultation on electoral assistance to the Arab region looking for transition, Rout said.

The meeting, to be held in Cairo on May 2 and 3, will also see the participation from Mexico and South Africa, he added.