EC won't say anything over election-time govt: CEC

The CEC came up with this remark on Wednesday at a dialogue with the editors of the national dailies and the senior journalists over the upcoming general election.
Prothom Alo

Chief election commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal on Wednesday said the election commission (EC) won't say anything about the 12th parliament-election-time government.

He said, "I have taken oath to conduct the election in accordance with the law and the constitutional rule. Political leaders will take decisions over the election-time government through discussion."

The CEC came up with this remark on Wednesday at a dialogue with the editors and senior journalists of the national dailies over the upcoming general election.

CEC Kazi Habibul Awal chaired the dialogue. Earlier, the EC sat with the academicians and the civil society members in two phases to discuss the election issue.

Kazi Habibul said, "The dialogue is being held to take opinions from all concerned with a view to conducting the election. The challenges many talked about in conducting elections are being enlisted. If we can identify the things emphasised in the dialogue, we will be able to move forward incorporating those in the planning."

When asked about whether it is possible to hold a fair election, he said, "It is too early to say about the matter. We will try our level best to hold a participatory and fair election. In the dialogue, we have discussed the problems an election could face."

It is difficult to hold a fair election if the government doesn’t want to do so, said the daily Samakal advisory editor Abu Sayeed Khan.

He said under which type of government the election will be held is a big question. It is a matter of political decision whether the polls will be held under a partisan government or neutral or national government. The EC could start the dialogue over the issue.

Daily Jugantor editor Saiful Alam said it is important to gain the people’s trust and ensure voluntary participation. The election will be controversial even after completing all essential tasks if the people don’t appear at the polling station. Voting is a people’s right. The voters are aggrieved and saddened when their votes have been casted by other people.

Daily Ajker Patrika editor Golam Rahman said there is a scope to make the election acceptable if all parties take part in the election. The fair election is possible if the EC wants.

New Age editor Nurul Kabir said the people’s trust over the election has waned. The main responsibility of the EC is to bring the confidence back. It is possible if the EC has the willingness since the executive will work under the EC during the election.

National Press Club president Farida Yasmin opined that the participation of BNP in the election will have to be ensured for participatory election. "It will be possible to hold a fair election if we can handle the political pressures. There is a disagreement among the political parties. In this situation, it is challenging to hold an election."

Daily Bhorer Kagoj editor Shaymal Dutta said the main responsibility of EC is to bring their prestige back. In the past, the EC didn't even try to hold a fair election. The foreign minister has requested the United States to bring the BNP to the election, which is extremely embarrassing. It is shameful to take help from the foreign countries in creating the election atmosphere.

The entire election system has collapsed, claimed Ittefaq editor Tasmima Hossain. She said the country’s fortune will be determined in the next election. I’m not expecting that the government will be able to hold the 100-percent fair election.

Tasmima proposed to hold the division wise election on a separate day.

Prothom Alo joint editor Sohrab Hassan said the previous EC also organised the dialogue but the outcome was not satisfactory. The mistakes the two former EC made have to be identified. The EC is the guard of the voters. Will the EC be able to patrol the votes of 110-120 million voters? The barriers in holding fair elections will have to be identified and resolved afterwards.

Sohrab Hassan proposed to replace the deputy commissioners by the EC officials in the returning officers' posts.

The Business Standard editor Inam Ahmed said the media is shackled by different laws. Whether these laws will be relaxed during election-time, he asked.

Prothom Alo associate editor Anisul Hoque said some local government elections will be held before the national election. The EC will have to gain the people’s trust through these elections.