Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda has said the voter turnout was low in the Jan 5 national election because “people lacked confidence in the poll environment”.
Expressing his concern over some cases of rigging in the national elections, Huda said on Wednesday, “The reforms in the electoral laws before the 9th parliamentary elections had made it possible to prevent such malpractices. But we have retreated as much as we had advanced.”
The former CEC appealed for an environment of confidence among the people to raise voters’ turnout.
Huda was speaking at debating competition on election in which university students took part. The programme was organised by the satellite TV channel ATN Bangla and Debate For Democracy at the Basundhara City.
He also compared the elections held under him and those before with the last polls.
Huda had also expressed similar concerns about the 10th parliamentary elections at a roundtable organised by the country’s first online newspaper bdnews24.com.
He had said that the 10th parliamentary election was a barrier to organising a good election.
The Election Commission had put the turnout rate at around 40 percent in the Jan 5 national election boycotted by BNP and allies in protest against a partisan administration overseeing it.
Huda said on Wednesday, “All that was done to ensure the confidence of the voters have been undone in this election because of the unwelcome environment.”
Pointing at the opposition alliance that boycotted the elections, he said, “The incidents that have taken place over the elections were not expected in the advancement of democracy. Terrorism and revenge can never be a tool to go to state power.”
The former top election official who discharged his duties between 2007 and 2012 urged all the political parties to practise positive politics by abjuring revenge and conflicts.
Analysts felt the low voter turnout had been caused by boycott of the polls by the BNP-led 18-Party Alliance.
The country witnessed a very low turnout, as people preferred to remain in their houses either fearing violence or due to lack of interest in the 10th parliamentary election.
Source: Bd news24