The world's first election management body will be headquartered in Songdo, Incheon… about an hour west of Seoul.
Representatives of election management agencies from more than 100 nations and international organizations gathered in Songdo on Monday to draft a charter for
the Association of World Election Bodies, or A-WEB.
At an inaugural ceremony Monday , the chairman of Korea's National Election Commission, Lee In-bok, said A-WEB will serve as a global platform for managing elections.
"Each of us, as our respective nation's election management body, have worked individually so far to strengthen electoral democracy. But we have realized that we need a global network for sharing our experiences, to better advance our national democracies."
Delegates of both advanced and emerging democracies expressed high expectations for A-WEB.
The delegation from Egypt, a country currently being led by an interim government, said it hopes to learn from the experiences of others.
"Egypt's High Election Commission is preparing for a referendum that will come very soon, and then it will be preparing for parliamentary and presidential elections. So we have very high expectations for A-WEB in order to have fair, transparent and credible elections."
In 2011, Korea first proposed setting up a world election management body… and has since formed working groups representing the six continents and international organizations.
Acknowledging that initiative, the world delegates elected Korea as the Association's first chair and the Dominican Republic as vice chair.
"Korea's hosting of A-WEB in Songdo is expected to have various political, diplomatic and economic benefits. Officials say A-WEB in Songdo will bring Korea's brand image up a notch and have the economic inducement effect of some 50 million U.S. dollars every year by providing job opportunities and boosting local food, transport and lodging industries.
Kim Yeon-ji, Arirang News, Incheon."