Former Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain on Saturday said the Election Commission (EC) cannot claim that it does not have any say in the recent political situation of the country.
“The role of the EC is directly related with political parties, election and democracy, particularly during the transition period between the outgoing and incoming governments. I won’t agree with the EC if it claims it has no scope for doing anything at this moment,” he said.
Sakhawat was addressing a discussion organised by Pro-People’s Movement (PPM), a non-political pressure group, on the recent political crisis at Jatiya Press Club.
“I’ve very recently learned that the EC is going to call on the President. They (EC) must apprise the President of the crisis and seek for effective initiatives from him to resolve the crisis over the next election,” said Sakhawat.
He also noted that changes in the recently amended Representation of the People Order (RPO) 2013, and also in the code of conduct for the candidates, will facilitate squandering of money on the next election.
In the recent past, the former Election Commissioner said the code of conduct for candidates had provisions for restricting the extravagant campaign when a candidate is buying the nomination form from the party.
“I’ve gone through the codes and found out that the provision is not there. It must have been changed recently. Look at the extravagant campaign of the candidates as they’re buying the nomination forms from the party…I wonder how much they’re spending on buying nominations,” he said.
The recent changes in the RPO have also created a much larger scope for buying candidates from other parties, he added.
Dropping the provision of mandatory three-year party membership for getting nomination from a party will widen scopes for the sale of candidates before the election, he observed.
Presided over by PPM chairman CM Tofail Sami, the discussion was also addressed by former minister Nazmul Huda, Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul and Supreme Court lawyer Tuhin Malik.