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Monday, July 17, 2017

CEC hopeful of fair polls under present govt

Staff Reporter :
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Sunday said the Election Commission is not responsible to create a level-playing field before the announcement of the schedule for the 11th Jatiya Sangsad polls.
 "It is not EC's jurisdiction to create a level-playing field before announcement of the polls schedule," the CEC said while releasing the EC's roadmap in booklet at the Election Training Institute (ETI) conference room in the city yesterday.
As per the roadmap, the EC will start dialogue with political parties and other stakeholders from July 31. According to the roadmap, the EC will complete re-demarcation of 300 parliamentary constituencies by December this year.
Huda termed the booklet (roadmap) 'an introductory deal' for marching toward the national election.
"This roadmap is not a complete one at all. With taking opinions from all, we will be working to hold a free, fair and an impartial election," he said.  
Replying to a query, he said as per the Constitution, the EC has a legal obligation to arrange the national election within 90 days after dissolving the parliament.
 "The EC will be able to keep the 11th Jatiya Sangsad polls free from any sort of influence of the government and other quarters," the CEC said. He said it is not only about government influence, but also about any political party and local and international agencies...the EC will be able to keep it free from any influence.
 "The EC will hold dialogues with civil society members on July 31 and journalists in August. According to the roadmap, the EC will then sit with 40 registered political parties from August to September," he added.
Apart from these, KM Nurul Huda said the EC will also hold talks with the election observer organisations, female leaders and election experts in October.
 "We are hopeful that the EC will be able hold the election in a free and fair manner under the present government," he added.
Replying to a query about law enforcers' alleged intercepting a meeting at Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rob) ASM Abdur Rob's Uttara residence where several political party leaders met on Thursday night, the CEC said, "We've no role to play here to ensure the rights of political parties to hold meetings."
However, he said the EC would oversee any hindrance to election campaign of any party and intimidation towards voters after the announcement of the election schedule.
Replying to another question, he said it is the matter of the government's political decision over the format of the election-time government.
The agendas of the dialogue will include electoral law reform, making electoral process a time-befitting one, delimitation of constituencies, updating the voter list, preparing the list of possible polling stations, inviting application from new political parties to be registered with the EC, and the capacity building of officials for holding the national election.
Election Commissioners Mahbub Talukdar, Md. Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam and Brigadier General Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury (retd.) were present on the occasion, with EC Secretary Secretariat Mohammad Abdullah in the chair.