Elections won’t be acceptable without all parties’ participation: Shamsul Huda

ATM Shamsul Huda

Election Commission in its Agargaon office in Dhaka on Tuesday holds an exchange of views with the commissioners on preparations to hold next general election. — Focusbangla photo

Elections without the participation of all the political parties would not be acceptable, former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda said Tuesday.
After taking part at Election Commission’s pre-polls talks for ‘election experts’, Huda told reporters that the EC would have to ensure participation of all the parties in the general election under the existing framework.
Out of 26 invited ‘election experts’ 16 took part in EC’ pre-polls talks Tuesday, including former CEC Justice Md Abdur Rouf, six former election commissioners, five former EC officials, a former secretary of the local government division, a former
BGB director general and a former inspector general of police.
EC’s pre-election talks with stakeholders ended Tuesday, said officials.
Huda said that after abolition of the caretaker government system through amendment of the Constitution, elections should be considered within the existing framework.
He said that time at hand also requires to consider elections within the existing framework.
Huda said that as time constraint would not permit another amendment of the Constitution now to put in place election-time government the EC would have to hold the next general election within the existing framework.
All the experts advised the EC to earn the trust of all the political parties to bring them to take part in the general election, said Huda.
They also advised the EC to develop its infrastructure and human resources to strengthen itself as an institution, he said.
A durable solution will remain elusive, he said, as long as stop gap approach was taken before every election.
‘Now we need to think of how to make the Election Commission effective,’ he said.
He said that the EC alone cannot hold free and fair elections as the political parties have big roles to play in this area.
Huda said the culture of election boycotts harmed the cause elections in this country.
That’s why, he said, political parties should join elections this time remaining alert against the culture of boycott.
He said that there was no need to deploy army during the general election vesting it with the powers of magistracy.
But, he said, the EC should be able to deploy army under its control if needed.
Former CEC Justice Rouf said that he advised the EC to appoint its own officials as returning officers as government officials were mostly loyal to political parties of their choice.
Former election commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain said that the EC could take the initiative to encourage political parties to sort out their differences through dialogue.
He also said that none should criticize the EC if its initiatives failed in this regard.
Former election commissioner Md Shah Nawaz admitted some irregularities took place in the elections held on January 5, 2014 due to election boycott by a major political party.
Former election commissioners, M Shakhawat Hossain, Md Saiful Alam, Mohammad Abu Hafiz and Mohammad Abdul Mobarak, former EC secretary Humayun Kabir, former IGP Mohammad Hadis Uddin, former Border Guard Bangladesh director general Md Rafiqul Islam and former local government division senior secretary Monzur Hossain also took part in the talks.
The EC held pre-polls dialogues with civil society members, journalists, registered political parties, election observers and women rights group.
EC officials said that the dialogues were convened as part of EC’s preparations for holding the next general election, due on January 28, 2019, at the latest.

Source: New Age

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