People's enthusiasm regarding elections seems to have faded away in recent years, particularly during the tenure of the last election commission (EC), due to the practice of boycotting elections, withdrawing candidacy, a significant number of representatives elected uncontested and creating a free reign of terror before and after elections. As a result, a few elections became unacceptable nationally and internationally during the said period. Though the two previous commissions, despite huge criticism from different corners of the society, hardy took these issues into consideration, the incumbent commission seems to be serious about those, at least their current activities suggest so.
They are seen holding a series of meetings with stakeholders and experts to gather knowledge about how a free, fair and acceptable election can be arranged. And most of the meetings have reportedly come up with the conclusion that without the participation of all parties, the national and local government elections would not be credible. The most recent dialogue held at the EC Secretariat on Sunday has concluded with the same opinion.
The right to vote is one of the most important freedoms of an individual that ensures people have a voice to be heard. It is also the right we have fought for several times, and people sacrificed their lives to establish. Therefore, the EC has to take all possible steps to ensure this right and all stakeholders responsible for a free, fair and participatory election must act responsibly with a view to ensuring people’s right to give their mandate to whoever they want.