Saturday, April 11, 2020 | ePaper

Voters losing interest in election: An ominous sign for democracy

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POLITICIANS and former bureaucrats have at last realised that unlessĀ  a fresh movement demanding restoration of the electoral system to hold free, fair and credible elections is waged, democratic systems will collapse in the country. The fair polls are the outcome of a well-managed electoral system and also the stepping-stone of democracy. Speakers at a national convention arranged by Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik said there is no alternative to fair polls when it comes to ensuring good governance. Reforms have been made over the years to improve the country's electoral system and to ensure the better functioning of the Election Commission to strengthen the democratic system. One major reform in the system was to make public affidavits of polls candidates. Despite these initiatives, the results or achievements are not as expected. The official voter turnout in the 11th parliamentary polls was more than 80 per cent but it might have been 30 per cent in reality. Voter turnout remained below 30 per cent in the municipality polls.
Usually, the average voter turnout in national polls remains lower because political party candidates are not as organised at the grassroots as the local candidates of Union Parishad or Municipality polls. During the local government elections, local candidates remain proactive and they put extra effort to make their relatives and friends cast votes for them. So, the average voter turnout of national elections can in no way surpass that of municipality polls. Moreover, the latest Dhaka city polls showed the negative side of using EVM. Terming election as the "first effective step" of democracy, Shujon said if polls are not held in a fair manner then the overall democratic system will collapse. An election is the only way to transmit power in a peaceful manner. If peace is obstructed, the country's future will face uncertainty.
Political parties should take people's lack of enthusiasm in exercising voting rights into active consideration to find out the reasons behind it.

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