• Sunday, April 20, 2014

'Glitch' in EC website

Access to affidavits of polls candidates becomes difficult

Staff Correspondent

The website of the Election Commission (EC) was still not running properly yesterday as people found it hard to access the information on candidates' affidavits which included their wealth statements.
The link to the affidavits of the candidates often led people to find messages like "page not found" or "page seems temporarily damaged" throughout the day.

Even if they succeeded in getting through the links, it would take a long time to download the affidavits, often resulting in their annoyance and subsequent abandonment of the quest.
The website and the link titled "Candidate Disclosure", in particular, drew immense attention of people and media as it started giving comparative pictures of the wealth of MP-aspirants in 2008 and 2013.
The technical glitch of the EC website interestingly coincides with an Awami League delegation's recent request to the commission to stop disclosing the income and property statements of the candidates of the 10th parliamentary polls.
Embarrassed by the revelations that many AL leaders have amassed huge wealth in the last five years, the AL delegation led by former home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir met the chief election commissioner on Sunday and made the plea.
Almost all the newspapers published stories on the shocking rise of their wealth in the past five years, triggering widespread public criticism.
Later on Tuesday, the EC issued a statement, saying it was legally bound to make the particulars public, and so, the commission could not stop disclosing the information.
However, people found it rather peculiar as only the link to affidavits' information was not working while all the other links on the EC website were easily accessible.
Rafiqul Hoque, system manager of EC Secretariat, said, nothing was done from their end to bar people from checking the affidavits.
"If a lot of people try to access the webpage at the same time, it may become difficult to access it," he told The Daily Star.
"We are working on it," he added, but could not say how long it might take to solve the glitch.
Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz echoed the system engineer and said, "As far as we know, the website is running properly and people can easily access it without hassles."
However, IT expert Suman Ahmed Sabir, also the president of Bangladesh Computer Emergency Response Team, said, "It is very unusual that a link on a website, which had been active for many days, cannot be accessed all of a sudden without any reason."
The Supreme Court in a landmark verdict in 2007 asked the EC to collect eight-point information, including wealth statements of each candidate contesting in the parliamentary polls, and make those public.
The EC later incorporated a provision in the Representation of the People Order (RPO), the legal framework for conducting parliamentary polls, to ensure implementation of the apex court's order.

Published: 12:00 am Thursday, December 26, 2013

Last modified: 10:05 pm Thursday, December 26, 2013

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