What to do with this election?

Mohammad Ali Sattar

The 10th parliamentary election is over. The ruling party and its allies are very happy. They have successfully passed the polling day while the country was in the grip of violence and deaths. However, the elections have been dubbed as unacceptable locally and globally.

Much before the polls were actually held we have had lengthy debates in the forum of the country. Cross sections of the society have been commenting and some, including constitutional experts, have suggested ways to tide over the crises. Number of formulas was placed for consideration by many quarters, including the main opposition BNP. Nothing worked.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister and some of her ruling alliance stalwarts have been urging the people to keep faith in the constitution. According to constitutional bindings or obligation, the polls were inevitable for January 5. Why this rigidity? The laymen figured out that the present parliament was due to expire on January 24, 2014 and the next parliamentary polls could have been held within 90 days — by April 24, 2014. A resolution by the present parliament could have enabled the government by holding it under a non-partisan government. But that is not be.
The second point is the percentage of votes actually polled. I haven’t heard any independent source suggesting anything over 10 to 15 per cent. Again, the common calculation is, if for argument’s sake, say 20 percent, the total percentage for 300 seats would be then only 10 per cent or less. So the entire exercise of the polling remains under a lengthening shadow of suspicion.

Wealth announcement
It is said that things are not moving to the right direction for the AL for a long time. Insiders suggest that huge mistrust, disbelief and lack of confidence exist in the corridors of the power. The questionable activities of many ministers and prominent MPs have visibly created unease within the rank file of the party. Even the PM is known to be unhappy about many of her close cronies and reportedly have reprimanded them in private.
Besides, the series of media reports of highhandedness of many ruling party stalwarts all over the country together with the recent reports of amassing unthinkable wealth by MPs and ministers have definitely shaken the party ranks. The press reports on the amount of their wealth were taken from the concerned MP candidates’ voluntary statements given to the Election Commission while submitting their nomination papers. As part of the EC’s constitutional obligations, the EC had placed them on its Website.
Meanwhile, the EC in a hasty move to save the government from embarrassment, suddenly removed all the wealth statements of the MP candidates from its Website and seems to have proved that it acts as per the administration’s nod and does not exercise its own authority. While it hasn’t yet been proved if this removal of the wealth statements from EC’s Website was a voluntary exercise or done at the behest of the government, but this has clearly embarrassed the Prime Minister. She and her spokesmen were crying hoarse suggesting that the EC was strong, independent constitutional body and do things as it deems fit.
The opposition has always tried to prove that the EC has been behaving like the rubber stamp of the government and demanded appointment of a new and independent Election Commission to conduct the elections.

Source: Weekly Holiday

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