Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal on Sunday said they want to take up the challenge of holding the next national election in a free and neutral manner despite the trust deficit prevailing among the public regarding elections. “There is a perception in the public sphere. There is no trust in us and in the government. Elections are not held in an impartial manner (people think). We want to take up this challenge that the next election will be free and fair and peaceful as well as transparent,” he said. The CEC was addressing the inaugural session of a two-day training workshop arranged for Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNO) and Upazila/Thana Election Officers ahead of the 12th parliamentary elections. Also read: CEC replies to EU letter seeking cooperation in organising elections Some 50 UNOs and 50 election officers participated in the workshop at the Electoral Training Institute (ETI) in the city’s Agargaon area. Habibul Awal said they would ensure transparency in the election through their monitoring and media surveillance. He asked the participant officers to work so that there would be no trust crisis regarding the next election. “Those of us who will conduct the election --starting from the election officer to you-- will have to take the responsibility properly as per the RPO,” he said. Also read: Powers of presiding officers have been enhanced through law to ensure that elections are fair: CEC Noting that the magnitude of complaints or controversy regarding the next election is excessive, he said, “The pressure (liability) of 2014 and 2018 (elections) has fallen on us. So, we are working tirelessly.” The CEC asked the officers to perform their duty properly during the elections. “We, from the Election Commission, will also strictly monitor,” he said. He asked them to keep in mind that there might be various arguments and debates about the election as in the past: “It happened in the past as well. If we look at the history of the 50, 60 and 70 years, it had happened in some cases of the elections held during the British era……But the magnitude was lower to some extent.” Also read: Dialogue among political parties needed to resolve crisis: CEC tells US Ambassador Habibul Awal said there is a word called ‘credible,’ which remains in the laws of all countries. The international community also suggests that elections must be credible. “It would be credible only when we can ensure transparency through our performance,” he said. Talking about propaganda, the CEC said the EC will strictly curb media propaganda regarding the parliamentary elections. He said now a lot of propagandas is propagated through the media, which is called misinformation or disinformation. “We will strictly resist these things so that the elections are not affected negatively,” he added.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has ruled out a return to the repealed caretaker government system as the constitution was amended in line with a higher court verdict. “People have the sole right to vote. Whoever is elected by the people will form the government. There is no way to go back to it (caretaker government system),” she said in an interview with the Bangla service of Voice of America (VoA) aired on Saturday. The prime minister, now on a visit to the US, responded to a number of questions on US Visa sanction, human rights, Khaleda’s treatment abroad, caretaker government, the constitution and other issues. PM Hasina questions logic behind US visa sanction against Bangladesh When asked about the possibility of taking initiative for amending the constitution and forming a caretaker government or discussion with the opposition alliance, she said, “Election is people’s right. When an emergency was declared in 2007, the High Court delivered a verdict that an unelected government would never come to power. Power will be handed over to an elected government…. according to the verdict of the High Court. The constitution was amended after the verdict.” “Now, how can we annul the verdict of the High Court? Or amend the constitution? And why will we do that? We had a lot of bitter experiences. In the history of our country, we’ve seen martial law, military dictatorship, and farcical election under them, or under caretaker government.” Khaleda has to return to jail first before taking treatment abroad, PM Hasina tells VoA Mentioning that the BNP was once against the caretaker government Hasina said, “When we protested against the BNP’s vote rigging then BNP leader (Khaleda Zia) said that no one is neutral other than children and the insane. They said this, they were against this.” “The constitution was amended based on the verdict of the High Court. They used to protest against it, and now that they are demanding the same thing, there is no guarantee of what they will do in the future,” she said. Moreover, the caretaker government system was abolished because of BNP, said Hasina adding that they wanted to form a government of their choice, raising the judge’s age for that, making fake voter lists, and committing a lot of terrible crimes. But none of it worked because people did not accept it. There are legal complications regarding allowing Khaleda to be taken abroad: Home Minister About the 2008 election, the PM said, “The country witnessed elections under a caretaker government in 2008. They committed a lot of dreadful crimes during their tenure from 2001-2006, and an emergency situation was declared and the caretaker government took over power. They did not hold any elections for two years and filed false cases against us,” she said. In the 2008 election, the BNP-led 20-party alliance got only 29 seats in parliament and got another one in the re-election, said the prime minister .” So, this is their reality even under a caretaker government. That is why they boycotted the 2014 election and resorted to arson…they burnt over 3000 people to death. They carried out mayhem and arson attacks in 500 vote centres and schools. They boycotted the election.” CEC replies to EU letter seeking cooperation in organising elections “Now that they are suddenly demanding a caretaker government, why? And the question is who is their leader? Who (the people) will vote for? People want to see leadership…. They have no good leader to lead the country,” she continued. “Bangladesh is in a stable condition now….. after the 2008 national election several efforts were made to make the country unstable. Bangladesh has overcome those and now has achieved the status of a developing country. We need an elected government to make this effective,” she added.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on Friday reiterated his government's determination to hold fair elections. "It is not a matter of us to see who came to power or left, our goal is to organise fair elections," the minister made these remarks while talking to journalists after inaugurating the country's first-ever premium water park in Munshiganj's Gazaria on Friday. "We are always striving to arrange a peaceful election. The Election Commission is providing all kinds of support in this regard," he said. All parties never participate in elections: EC Alamgir Those who think that there will not be free, fair and participatory elections, their ideas will be proved false soon, added the minister. Mentioning reshuffling in law and order forces is an ongoing process, he said, it happens every month, every year. Schedule of 12th parliamentary election likely in November, says EC Anisur There is no issue of reshuffling based on the election, said the home minister. British Deputy High Commissioner Matt Cannell, Lawmaker from Munshiganj-3 Constituency Advocate Mrinal Kanti Das, Deputy Commissioner Md Abu Jafar Ripon, and Superintendent of Police Md Aslam Khan were also present.
All political parties never participate in elections because political parties have to probe their ability to participate in the elections , Election Commissioner Mohammad Alamgir said today. “We have 44 political parties. All of them will not participate and it did not happen in the past," the election commissioner said while talking to journalists at the Election Commission building. Also read: Foreign observers are welcome during Bangladesh's upcoming elections: Momen tells Swiss envoy Regarding BNP’s participation in the election, he said, the Election Commission will not take any special initiative in this regard. “Election Commission will abide by the Constitution, we do not have the authority to do anything outside the Constitution. The Election Commission will not go beyond the Constitution,” he added. Also read: Hasan Mahmud warns BNP: Election boycott will have 'dire' consequences "We have vowed to hold elections within 90 days before the end of the term of Parliament. Our work is to register the voters, register the parties and conduct the elections on time," EC Alamgir said. Also read: Names of 68 local election observer agencies released by EC
Election Commissioner Anisur Rahman on Wednesday said the schedule of the 12th parliamentary election may be announced in November. Ballot papers will be sent to the polling stations on the morning of the election day except those in the remote areas, he said. Names of 68 local election observer agencies released by EC He said these while talking to reporters at the Election Commission building at Agargaon in the capital. “To arrange voting in the last week of December or the first week of January, the schedule will have to be announced in November. Preparations should be made to announce the schedule with at least 40 to 45 days in hand. In that case, there is no possibility of announcement of schedule in December,” he said. No CCTV cameras in 12th national election
The Election Commission (EC) has released a preliminary list of names of 68 local election observer agencies ahead of the upcoming 12th parliamentary elections. If anyone has any claim, objection or complaint against these agencies, they have been asked to inform the EC within 15 days. If there are no serious allegations against any of these agencies, they will get final registration. If complaints are filed against any of them, the commission will hear them and make a final decision. Read: Public Service Commission was plagued by corruption, depriving meritorious candidates during BNP-Jamaat govt: Sajeeb Wazed In this process, the observer agencies that will get registration will be able to monitor the upcoming elections. This information was given in a public notice signed by Assistant Director (Public Relations) of Bangladesh Election Commission Md. Asadul Haque on Tuesday. Earlier in 2018, the EC had registered 118 observer agencies. Those agencies’ five-year term ended on July 11. This time, 199 applications were submitted to the Election Commission within the stipulated time and 11 more applications were submitted to the EC after the stipulated time. The commission has released a preliminary list of 68 observer agencies for the upcoming elections. At the end of the complaint hearing process, the number is likely to drop further when the final registration is issued. Read: Two more upazilas to be declared free of homeless and landless in Chandpur EC sources said the system of registration of local observer agencies was introduced in 2008 before the 9th parliamentary election. The EC had registered 138 agencies that year.
The Election Commission (EC) has held a hearing against two new political parties, the Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM) and Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP). The hearing was held at Agargaon Nirbachon Bhaban on Monday. Representatives of the two political parties BNM and BSP and the complainants presented their arguments. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal and other commissioners were present at the hearing. After the hearing, the matter of complaint is likely to be settled and a final decision on registration may be taken soon, EC sources said.
The Election Commission (EC) has directed the deputy commissioners to finalise the list of polling stations for the upcoming 12th parliamentary elections by September 24. Letters have been sent to senior district election officers and district election officers to take appropriate action in this regard, EC officials said. Besides, copies have been given to all Deputy Commissioners (DCs) and Upazila Nirbahi Officers (UNO). Deputy Commissioners and Upazila Nirbahi Officers are the conveners of the committee that determines polling stations at the field level. Under a new policy enacted by the Election Commission, a seven-member committee has been formed at the district level with the DC as the convener to determine polling stations for the parliamentary elections. The committee consists of the divisional commissioner's representative, superintendent of police, metropolitan police commissioner's representative, district education officer and district primary education officer. Senior district election officer or district election officer has been made member secretary of the committee. On the other hand, a five-member committee has been formed at the upazila level with the Upazila Nirbahi Officer as its head. The committee consists of upazila education officer, upazila secondary education officer and officer-in-charge. And the upazila or thana election officer has been made member secretary. In a letter sent to the district election officers, the EC has set a deadline for the concerned committee to finalise the list of polling stations. The last date for publishing the draft voters list is August 16, the last date for taking claims and objections on that list is August 31, the last date for disposal of claims and objections is September 11 and the final list of draft polling stations has been given till September 17. The election organising body has asked the concerned committee to send the final list of the draft polling stations to the EC secretariat by September 24. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal said the schedule for the 12th parliamentary election may be announced in the last week of October or the first week of November. The election is scheduled to be held between the last week of December and the first week of January. At the time of the 11th parliamentary election, there were 10.42 crore voters. At that time, 40,199 polling stations were set up. At present, the number of voters in the country is 11.90 crore. Therefore, the number of polling stations is expected to increase further.
Information Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday said that foreign observers seem confident about the Election Commission's ability to conduct free and fair elections in line with the constitution. He said this to reporters after a meeting with a group of foreign election observers at his secretariat office on Monday afternoon. U.S. political analyst Terry L. Easley, and Irish European Union affairs reporter Nick Powell were the two foreigners in the delegation. The others were the Election Monitoring Forum's Chairman Abed Ali, and directors Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Dr Azadul Haque, and Mohammad Iqbal Bahar. Awami League Relief and Social Welfare Secretary Aminul Islam Amin attended the meeting. Hasan Mahmud said, "The election monitoring team came to meet me and asked me many questions about the upcoming election. In particular, they discussed what the government is preparing for the next election or what is the present situation of the Election Commission." "I have told them that the election will be held under the Election Commission and the present government will only play the role of a facilitator during the election," Hasan said. The minister said after the announcement of the election schedule, the government does not have authority over the field administration, police, public administration and other institutions that are engaged in election work. "The government cannot transfer any official or take any disciplinary action against any officer without the permission of the Election Commission." "I think they have realised that it is possible to hold a free and fair election in Bangladesh in the light of the current constitution under the Election Commission," he added. Hasan Mahmud said, "They came to know that the city corporation elections were very free and fair and the voter participation was more than 50 percent.... All those who harassed a candidate in Dhaka-17 constituency have been arrested." Replying to a question on BNP's participation in the election, Hasan Mahmud said, "Most of the BNP leaders want to contest the election. BNP is a party that is not allowing anyone from the party to participate in any election to the Union Parishad or the City Corporation. But almost everyone in their party wants to contest elections."
The Election Commission (EC) has sent letters to 10 political parties including Gono Odhikar Parishad, AB Party and Nagorik Oikya, explaining the reasons for not giving them registration. Abdul Baten, joint secretary of EC’s election management branch gave the information on Wednesday. Also read: We want to stay above criticism by holding a fair election: CEC Of the 12 teams that survived the preliminary selection, 10 were excluded due to lack of accuracy of the upazila committee. But their central and district committees are alright, he said. Several objections have been filed against two parties on the list. There will now be a hearing. In this case, if the allegation is proved at the hearing, they will not get registration, he said. Also read: Nur-led Gono Odhikar Parishad to lay siege to Election Commission on Tuesday When the Election Commission invited applications to register new parties, 93 parties applied. Of these, 12 survived the preliminary selection. The parties are Bangladesh Gonotrantik Andolon (BNM), AB Party (Amar Bangladesh Party), Bangladesh Humanist Party (BHP), Gono Odhikar Parishad, Nagorik Oikya, Bangladesh Sanatan Party (BSP), Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP), Bangladesh Labour Party, Bangladesh Minority Janata Party (BMJP), Bangladesh People's Party (BPP), Democratic Party and Bangladesh Liberal Democratic Party (BLDP). Also read: Nur threatens to ‘throw Election Commission officials in the drain’ over his party not getting registered Of these 12 teams, eight were excluded after further investigation. The EC formed four investigation committees to register Gono Odhikar Parishad, Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP), Bangladesh Gonotantrik Andolan (BNM) and AB Party. After the committee re-examined and submitted its report, it decided to register both BNM and BSP parties. In this case, the EC also issued a public notice inviting objections to the two parties by July 26.