Upcoming mayoral elections

The upcoming mayoral polls in six important city corporations will be the first major test for the current Election Commission (EC). Historically, our record of holding polls unmarred by dissension and violence has been poor resulting in the sapping of public confidence in our democratic system and institutions.

The country is expecting to hold what is arguably one of the most important parliamentary elections in its history next year, especially given that the previous one in 2014 was sullied by controversy. Thus, for the EC and the various parties that will be contesting the polls, the mayoral election could be taken as a preparatory test before that.

How the EC handles its responsibilities will play a big role in restoring the confidence of the people in the system. We hope that the EC would prioritise the holding of free and fair elections, and be able to fend off extraneous pressure, while sticking to the laws and bylaws of election. The political parties also have a major role to play in holding a good election. This includes shunning violence and leaving the final choice to the people and not deciding or compelling the voters to choose according to the wishes of the political parties.

For our democracy to survive, people’s confidence in the electoral system must be restored. This is why next year’s parliamentary election will be so crucial, this being the chance before that for all the stakeholders to demonstrate that they are up to the election in the right spirit. We hope all stakeholders will make the most of it.

Source: The Daily Star

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