Emergency barrier to holding polls | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 02, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 02, 2008

Emergency barrier to holding polls

Says EC Sohul

The Election Commission (EC) sees state of emergency as a "barrier" to holding election as its Commissioner Sohul Hussain yesterday said it is not possible to hold the polls keeping the emergency in force.
"State of emergency is a barrier to holding election and it is not possible to hold elections keeping the state of emergency in force," said the election commissioner about the EC's position.
He said the Election Commission will ask the government to create a congenial atmosphere for holding elections, but it will entirely depend on the government whether to lift or relax the state of emergency.
"State of emergency is a barrier to holding elections… But, if you think about the circumstances of 1/11 and justify it, then it's the government who is to take the decision on how (relaxing or lifting the state of emergency) the elections will be held," Sohul told reporters at his office.
On the first day of the year 2008, Sohul firmly reiterated the EC's promise to hold a free and fair election under a voter list with photograph by the set timeline, that is, by December 2008 according to the EC- announced election roadmap.
The only objective of the EC is to hold a free, fair and transparent election and facilitate the people of the country in casting their vote without any impediment, he said.
As to when the EC will sit with the government to discuss the matter of creating electoral atmosphere, Sohul said they will apprise the government of the matter one month before the city-corporation elections, and that might be in February or March next.
Asked how the national elections would be held, under the state of emergency or relaxing it, he told the newsmen to wait. "Let's see what can be done… The time has not yet come to say how the national elections will be held," the election commissioner said.

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