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Talks with Political Parties

Level playing field to be ensured: CEC

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 18 July, 2022 12:00 AM
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Level playing field to be ensured: CEC

The Election Commission (EC) will ensure level playing field on the basis of every party’s opinion on holding the next general election in a free fair and credible manner.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal made the assurance on the first day of their dialogue with political parties at the EC Secretariat in the capital.

The EC has initiated the talks to receive opinions as part of their move to hold a free and fair national election.

“Irregularities and muscle power can be reduced if all political parties participate in the elections. The debate over the 12th parliamentary election would be resolved,” he said.

Calling for a political consensus, the CEC said that till now the EC does not have the mindset to implement anyone’s agenda.                 He has urged political parties to take initiative to stop violence for organising a participatory and competitive election.

“The Election Commission cannot stop violence during the polls. The political parties must play due roles in this regard. Because you are the players,” he said. Mentioning the power of the EC in dealing with elections, Kazi Awal said political parties are the players while they (EC) are the referees.

“You will go to the field and play. We are referees. We have the power and we must exercise the power for a better election,” he said.

 “We want to make it clear that the responsibility of the 2014 and 2018 elections should not be put on us. We will take responsibility for the election under the incumbent EC. We will make every effort to make elections participatory and neutral one,” he added.

Speaking over the demands of non-partisan government during the elections, the CEC sought the government’s help for fair polls.

“If the government does not extend support to us, the situation during the elections may go bad,” he said.

The CEC also said participation of major political parties is important for participatory elections.

“I cannot force any party to participate in the elections. But we will repeatedly call on all parties to participate effectively. We will continue that effort,” he said.

The CEC believe that if there is no competition in the election, there is no accurate reflection of public opinion.

“Active participation and competition of the parties in the elections at the field level can largely control the possible irregularities, rigging, corruption and the influence of money and muscle power,” he said.

“Political consensus is essential. We have seen a big consensus on one side, the government on the other. We are very confused when their statements are contradictory. We want to move forward with compromise,” the CEC said.

Kazi Awal said, “Many may be afraid, if there is a new government form, there will be a condition of this commission. That’s why I want to assure everyone - there is no fear in here. I will leave the post before saying.”

“If there is a new qualified Election Commission issue will come, then I need not call. I want harmony, consensus and compromise between political parties. Not by me, it can be by anyone,” he said.

The CEC said they haven’t come to this position for making fun, come to work hard and perform difficult duties.

NDM Chairman Bobby Hajjaj also told toward the CEC that the law doesn’t permit us to stand with shotguns.

He also suggested the EC to reduce the occupancy of polling center and easing the voting process through EVM.

The National Democratic Movement, Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) and Bangladesh Congress held the election talks with the CEC.

Four election commissioners, the EC secretary and officials concerned were present at the dialogue.