EC Mahbub questions trends of being elected unopposed
Election commissioner Mahbub Talukder, known to be a dissenting voice in the election commission, on Monday warned about a bleak future of democracy in view of the voters’ increasing indifference to the electoral system.
In that context, he called for reforms in the electoral process to restore public confidence in the elections and thus make democracy meaningful.
“Voters have lost their interest in electoral process — a trend that may lead to creating public apathy towards democracy itself,” he observed while briefing newsmen at his Nirbachan Bhavan office.
However, Mahbub Talukder, a retired bureaucrat and author, said electoral reforms are not an issue of the election commission rather the political decision should come up with initiative and reform proposals.
His observations came in the wake of poor turnout in the ongoing upazila elections, following the 30 December 2018 parliamentary elections plagued by allegations of rigging, ballot stuffing, intimidation and obstruction to voters.
The election commissioner expressed his views that voter presence would improve once the commission is entrusted with full responsibility to conduct elections whatsoever.
Expressing his own frustration at the low voter turnout, Mahbub said, “Most of the opposition parties didn’t join these elections and there is no enthusiasm among the people about the elections. This situation is ominous for democracy.”
He questioned whether those elected uncontested in upazila elections should be called elected or selected representatives.
In the 2014 parliamentary elections boycotted by all opposition parties including the BNP, a total of 154 members of parliament were elected uncontested. Such results created a lot of controversies at home and abroad.
More than 100 were elected uncontested in the first four phase of upazila elections. Some 50 more are likely to be elected uncontested, Mahbub added.
“This trend of being elected uncontested is in no way a good sign for democracy,” he said.
The commissioner is still optimistic that all the parties would participate in future elections if the environment for a free, fair, credible and open election is created and every candidate gets equal electioneering opportunity