Monday, 4 July, 2022
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EC to invite political parties for talks soon

EC to invite political parties for talks soon

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The Election Commission (EC) is planning to invite all the political parties of the country for dialogue with an aim to make the next parliamentary elections an inclusive one.

“All parties, including BNP, will be invited for talks on next election soon. It will be held within the next couple

of months,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal said.

He came up with the disclosure while talking to reporters after inaugurating the voters’ list update programme-2022 at the Savar upazila parishad auditorium on Friday.

The EC move came amid the major opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party’s (BNP) stance not to participate in the next national polls if held under the present government.

As per the constitutional provision, the incumbent Awami League-led government will remain in office during the election to be held either in December, 2023 or in January, 2024.

The BNP has been saying that it will not join any election under the current administration, demanding that the next polls be held under a neutral administration.

The CEC said they have been working on many poll-related issues apart from updating the voters’ list ahead of the next election.

Speaking on the EC’s step to increase their capacity to hold election with electronic voting machines (EVMs), Awal said they will hold more seminars on the issue before thinking about it.

When asked if they have the capacity to hold elections in all 300 parliamentary seats with EVMs, he said, “It’s not possible to say right now. It can be known through discussion ahead.”

The EC was working with the belief that it will be able to hold the next election in a free and fair manner, Awal added.

The CEC said if he was the Chief Election Commissioner of New Zealand or Britain, he could arrange the election by sitting on a chair, sipping tea.

“In many countries of the world, voting rights are exercised without any incident of violence. Everyone stands in queues and exercises their rights there,” the CEC said.

“But the situation in Bangladesh makes us stressed during the elections. We have to be careful about it,” he added.

Awal said the EC alone can never ensure holding a successful election.

Those who are the employees of the republic such as police administration and district administration have to play an important role during the elections, the CEC added.

“We want competitive and participatory election. But sometimes violence takes place during the voting. Chase and counter-chases happen,” he said, adding that a writer said this is not our crisis over election, it is our cultural crisis.

The CEC also said this is a big challenge and all have to get out of the culture of electoral violence.

EC secretary Md Humayun Kabir Khandker, Savar upazilla election commission officials and representatives from Hijra, Bede community, and sex workers, among others, were present in the programme.