The election commission (EC) wants to remain above criticism and controversy by conducting a free, fair and credible election, said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal on Saturday.

“We want to remain above the criticism and controversy by conducting a free, fair and credible election,” he told a dialogue with ruling Awami League (AL) as part of its ongoing talks with political parties at Agargaon Nirbachan Bhaban.

Other election commissioners (ECs) and concerned officials of the EC secretariat were present at the meeting.

Led by AL general secretary Obaidul Quader, advisory council members Amir Hossain Amu and Mohammad Shahabuddin Chuppu, presidium members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Kazi Zafar Ullah, Abdur Razzaque and Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan, joint general secretary and information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud, publicity and publication secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap, information and research affairs secretary Selim Mahmood, office secretary Biplab Barua and education and human resource affairs secretary Shamsun Nahar Chapa joined the dialogue.

The CEC said, “We witnessed elections since 1970. We know about the election of 1954. The elections of 2008, 2014 and 2018 are recent in this context”.

The president and the prime minister elections were held under the presidential election system, Awal said, adding that elections are being held under parliamentary system since 1991.

Noting that there were many controversies in the political arena centering the polls in the past, he said it is the constitutional responsibility of the EC to conduct free and fair elections.

“Similarly, it is the constitutional responsibility of the government to assist the commission. We are holding dialogues from that responsibility,” the CEC added.

Awal further said that the EC will perform its duty in line with the Constitution and the laws and regulations in the 12th national parliament election to make it participatory, free and impartial, ensure the exercise of the voting rights.

“We hope that everyone will assist the commission and wish the success of the 12th parliamentary polls with the responsible behaviour of the political parties,” he added.

During the ongoing dialogue, the CEC said that many parties gave opinions not to hold the elections in one day and proposed for holding the polls on separate days like in India.

They (parties) mentioned the shortage of law enforcement agency members as the cause behind their logic, Awal said, adding that many parties proposed for deploying army during the polls.

“We, however, yet to decide in this regard,” he added.