Most parties want army deployment during election
During the polls talks with the Election Commission, most political parties wanted the deployment of the army and dissolution of parliament before the next general elections.
A majority of the registered political parties also demanded the next polls be held under a neutral election-time administration.
However, not all the parties agree on what sort of power the army should have during the elections which is likely to be held in December 2018. Some want it deployed with magistracy power while others want it as a strike force in case an untoward situation developed.
At least 25 out of 40 parties that talked with the EC since August 25 demanded army deployment. Six others left it to the commission to decide whether such a deployment was necessary. Three parties opposed the idea of army deployment while the rest did not say anything about it.
The ruling Awami League and its alliance partners have either opposed it or have suggested that the army only be deployed without magistracy power and only if required.
The BNP and some of its alliance partners demanded deployment of the army during the polls with magistracy power.
Bangladesher Communist Party, Gonotontri Party and Bangladesh Sangskritik Muktijot were among those who did not say anything about the deployment of the army.
Defence forces had been mentioned as law enforcers in the Representation of the People Order and they had been empowered to arrest anyone on voting day for violation of electoral laws. However, the RPO was amended in 2009 and the armed forces have not been mentioned as law enforcers.
At least 19 political parties demanded dissolving the parliament before or after the announcement of election schedule while 19 others insisted that the next polls be held under a non-partisan interim administration.
They, however, used different words for “non-partisan interim administration”.
The provision for holding elections under a caretaker government was scrapped in 2011.
Seven parties demanded forming an election-time government with representatives of parties that have MPs in parliament or were registered with the EC.
Only eight parties, including the Awami League and some of its alliance partners, opined for holding the next elections under the incumbent government, in line with the constitution.
The BNP and some of its partners want the parliament dissolved and formation of an election-time supportive government.
Eight political parties wanted reintroduction of the “No Vote” system while the Awami League and eight other parties demanded introduction of Electronic Voting Machines.
“The Election Commission has listened to the proposals of the political parties. … [the commission] will analyse the proposals that can be implemented,” Helal Uddin Ahmed, acting secretary to the commission, told The Daily Star yesterday.
He also said the commission would scrutinise the proposals and would discuss what sort of changes it could bring and what could be done staying within the commission's jurisdiction.
He told reporters earlier, “We got many suggestions, including army deployment, stopping the use of muscle power, using black money in the polls. We will play a role from behind the screen to meet most of the common demands.”
The EC had also talked to civil society members, editors, and senior journalists about the elections. Most civil society members spoke of restoring the “No Vote” system and ensuring a level-playing field for all political parties.