The Union Law Ministry on Sunday appointed senior most Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat as the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) as the incumbent A.K. Joti will retire on 22 January 2018. Former Finance Secretary Ashok Lavasa was appointed as Election Commissioner to fill the vacancy created by Mr Rawat’s elevation.
Mr Rawat, who will take charge on 23 January 2018, will have a tenure of almost a year till his retirement in December 2018. He will oversee elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland scheduled next month. Crucial States like Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh will also go to the polls under his watch.
Sunil Arora, presently the second seniormost Election Commissioner will continues until April 2021. As per convention, he will be the CEC during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Mr. Lavasa due to will demit office in October 2022, will be the CEC after Mr. Arora. Mr Rawat has a post graduate degree in Social Development Planning from the United Kingdom, completed in 1989, and has been a recipient of the Madhya Pradesh Award for recognition of forest rights in 2009.
Election Commissioners have a fixed term of six years but have to step down if they reach 65 years of age before their term expires. A Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer, Mr Rawat served as secretary, Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries.