Kazi Habibul Awal told the media that the commission has a responsibility of creating conducive environment for the elections. But the political parties also have responsibilities for organising a fair election.
While answering various queries of the newsmen, the new CEC stressed on the role of political parties and building a consensus among them.
But Kazi Habibul Awal, the former bureaucrat, did not talk much about whether the EC would take any additional initiative and would play a strong role to create a level playing field for all in the elections.
He said differences would increase if you stay away from the other. There has to be dialogues. Someone has to opt for dialogues shunning their ego. The power of the election commission is not infinite. This is always relative
The new CEC, however, said they have not yet taken any decision on what would be the work procedure of the new commission. But they would try to carry out their duties employing their capacity, efficiency and power bestowed upon them by the laws. There will be no lack of attempt from their part to make everyone compete in the elections, he added.
He further told the newspersons to observe the new election commission and take it into your confidence.
Pressed on whether the EC would have any special initiative to earn trust (of all the political parties), the CEC said, “I can’t act as mediator if the political leadership do not have minimum consensus. They are far more experienced and wiser than us. I would request them, please have some kind of compromise among you, and pledge that you would take part in the elections in fair way. Don’t create any violence there, don’t obstruct anyone (from taking part in the elections).”
He said differences would increase if you stay away from the other. There has to be dialogues. Someone has to opt for dialogues shunning their ego. The power of the election commission is not infinite. This is always relative.
Kazi Habibul Awal further said, “The election commission alone cannot create the level playing field. Our agencies concerned will also try for that. What we call political leadership of the country, this does not mean Awami League only. There’s a political leadership jointly of the BNP, Awami League or Jatiya Party. That leadership has to try to make a compromise.”
Calling on the political parties to perform their duties for a meaningful parliamentary election, the CEC said, “Acknowledge, if you have any failure. Restore the democratic system so that everyone competes in the elections.”
Do you think, I myself will go to cast votes at night? Or, I will say stuff (ballots) fast
Regarding the allegation of stuffing ballots on the night before the day of parliamentary elections in 2018, the CEC said, let’s see what happens next time. Voting will be held according to the voting rules. He said he had seen from Australia that voting took place in the day.
Mentioning that he does not want to take part in the discussion of day-night voting issue, the CEC said, “Wouldn’t we try to restore people’s faith if that is damaged? You observe us, we would not hinder you there. The political parties can have an agreement that they would not carry out any violence or clash at the voting centres.”
Kazi Habibul Awal also called upon all the political parties and their supporters and workers to take a strong position at the field. “It would not do if you leave the election field. Stay at the field even if you face difficulties. The Ukraine president could have fled, but he didn’t do that."
“I will fight against Russia," the CEC quoted the Ukraine president as saying. "He has been waging the fight.”
The CEC said election is also a war, there will be competitions. Where there is a competition, there will be scuffles. The EC will try to control those through law enforcement agencies. One should not leave watching the power of another. They have to stay in the field. The leaders and officials have to stay at the centres.
Regarding the electronic voting machine (EVM), he said he does not understand the EVM issue well. They will decide after discussing the matter
When his attention was drawn to the de facto opposition BNP’s statements that they do not have any interests in the EC and the party would not compete in the elections without any polls-time neutral government, the CEC said, “Wouldn’t we invite BNP for a cup of tea with us even if they announced this? Nothing is final.”
The CEC said the government does not hold the election. A government remains during the time of election. There will have one or another government. Now, they will try to follow the current constitutional system, so that the people could cast their votes.
Kazi Habibul Awal said they would try so that the people could cast their votes. This is a big challenge, he added.
Regarding the opposition parties' allegation that the people appointed in the election commission are beneficiaries of the government steps and would not be able to stay neutral, the CEC said, “Do you think, I myself will go to cast votes at night? Or, I will say stuff (ballots) fast. I was a government employee. Those who were here in the past, who among them was not a government employee? Some say election held under Shamsul Huda’s (former CEC ATM Shamsul Huda) was better while some say the better one was held under Sahabuddin (former chief justice Sahabuddin Ahmed who was the head of caretaker government formed before the elections in 1991). These are relative.”
Regarding the electronic voting machine (EVM), Kazi Habibul Awal said he does not understand the EVM issue well. They will decide after discussing the matter.
The other commissioners did not speak to media at the briefing.
Following the conference, the CEC and other commissioners paid their tribute to Bangladesh’s founding father Bangbandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at Dhanmondi 32.