Thursday, 7 July, 2022

Inclusiveness a must for credible polls

Inclusiveness a must for credible polls

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.

To make it happen, the EC has to play the most vital role. Being the authority to uphold people’s voting rights by bringing as many options as possible for them to choose their representative, the EC has to create an environment where no political party would hesitate to participate in elections. At the same time, political parties have some roles to play as per their position, the ruling party and the opposition, in making an election acceptable to all and strengthening the democratic practice of the country. If needed, EC must make political parties accountable in case of ducking or failing to perform their respective duties.

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.