The second phase of the municipal elections to 60 municipalities was held in a free, fair and peaceful manner with about 62 per cent voter turnout except some stray incidents of clashes, chases and counter-chases, blasting home-made bombs and polls boycotts. Compared to the recent past, voters were in a more festive mood this time making us hopeful about the institutionalisation of the voting system and enhanced the probability for more inclusive elections in the coming days. We congratulate all the newly elected public representatives and want more from the authorities concerned to give people back the festivity of polls.
In our socio-economic context, it is very challenging to hold a peaceful local-government election as there are many other things to influence it besides just political rivalry which many a time ends in the battleground of the ballot. Considering this fact, this segment of municipal polls was peaceful and participatory where nine parties have fielded candidates for the mayoral posts though four out of fifty five BNP-backed mayor candidates and one independent mayor candidate boycotted the polls. Even then, there is no scope of EC's smugness; rather it must be more sincere to fill the loopholes that caused problems for voters to cast their votes and candidates to conduct campaigns. The EC must give importance to experiences from this phase with a view to strengthening the democracy in our country.There is no chance to take democracy for granted. The right to vote is one of the most important freedoms of an individual which ensures that they have the voice which is heard. It is also the right we have fought for several times, and people sacrificed their lives to establish this right. Therefore, all stakeholders responsible for a free, fair and participatory election must act logically and responsibly to increase voter turnout and ensure participation possibly by all political parties in elections at all levels. So we hope that the country will observe more inclusive elections in the coming days including the last two phases of ongoing municipals polls with the active participation of all political parties under the strong and impartial stance of the EC and law enforcement agencies.