CEC tells of problems in shutting them out of polls | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 06, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 06, 2008

Loan Defaulters

CEC tells of problems in shutting them out of polls

Chief Election Commission (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said yesterday there cannot be a level playing field for all in the coming parliamentary election as some influential loan and bill defaulters will be in the polls race with court orders.
Some renowned persons identified by Bangladesh Bank as defaulters got High Court orders following their writ petitions that allow them to contest the polls. But many other defaulters who did not file such writ petitions will remain out of the electoral race, he told a roundtable on 'Ninth Parliamentary Election and Our Mass Media'.
The Election Commission (EC) and the central bank now have to think of such a situation seriously, the CEC said at the roundtable organised by Mass Communication and Journalism Alumni Association of Dhaka University and held at the DU Senate Bhaban.
"We have provisions in the Representation of People Order to bar loan and bill defaulters from contesting polls. But difficulty arises in implementing those.”
The CEC announced that there will be no code of conduct for the mass media to cover the coming elections as they have dropped the idea in the face of difficulties and criticisms. He left the matter to an elected government.
He assured journalists that there would be no problem for them to have access to polling centres for election coverage. “The print and electronic media will cover the election as they did in the past,” he said.
Regretting the EC's limitations in implementing the electoral laws regarding defaulters, Huda said contestants in the parliamentary polls are supposed to be 'role model' in the society.
He stressed that there should have been a mandatory criterion for political parties not to nominate such persons.
Reacting to criticisms about rescheduling of the elections, he said the commission has the authority to change polls schedules to ensure participation of all political parties and credibility of the elections.
He ruled out uncertainty over holding of the election slated for December 29.
Prof Sheikh Abdus Salam of DU mass communication and journalism department chaired the roundtable while Rajib Meer, chairman of mass communication and journalism department of Chittagong University, and Sheikh Shafiul Islam, a teacher at the University of Development Alternatives, jointly presented the keynote paper.
Speakers at the roundtable included Dean of DU social sciences faculty Prof Harun-ur Rashid and DU Teachers Association General Secretary Prof Anwar Hossain, political leaders GM Quader, Hasanul Haque Inu, Mujahidul Islam Selim and Hannan Shah, Rahat Khan and Shirin Akhter.

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