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The Commonwealth Electoral Network aims to embed good electoral practices in the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries.

The heads of election commissions from across the Commonwealth gathered in Trinidad and Tobago last week for a major international conference aimed at advancing the best practices and principles for elections.

The Commonwealth Electoral Network’s 2016 Biennial Conference addressed contemporary priorities and challenges faced by electoral management bodies, such as ensuring equal access for all including women and minority groups, the regulation of election campaign finance, and managing the power of incumbent governments. Also discussed were emerging issues such as the use of new technologies including social media.

The conference was convened by the Commonwealth Secretariat and hosted by the Elections and Boundaries Commission of Trinidad and Tobago, June 23 – 24,  and aims to provide electoral commissions exchange knowledge, boost capacity-building, and maintain their independence.

“Election management bodies carry the hopes and indeed the legitimate expectation of voters,” Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General, Josephine Ojiambo, said. “Our Commonwealth citizens rightly demand credible elections and results that reflect their common will. Democracy is a hard-won goal which demands guiding principles and good practices. We look forward to advancing these principles and practices together in the Commonwealth at this conference, setting a compass bearing for the wider world as we do so.”

The Commonwealth Electoral Network (CEN) was established in May 2010 in Ghana after it was first endorsed by Commonwealth Heads of Government in 2009. Its aim is to facilitate experience sharing, create peer support mechanisms and embed good electoral practices in the Commonwealth’s 53 member countries.