CEC frustrated over DCC election delay
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday expressed his frustration over the government's dilly-dallying approach on holding the long overdue Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) poll.
"Government's attitude indicates that they have no headache to hold the election," he said during a dialogue with Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB) on electoral reform at the commission's secretariat in the city.
The last DCC election was held in early 2002 and its tenure expired on May 14, 2007.
Election Commission (EC) already approached the government three times to hold the election but there was no satisfactory response, he said.
In its last update, the government said they would divide DCC area in two parts to hold election. Six months have already passed with no initiative, said the CEC.
The CEC in earlier programmes said the election could not be held due to the state of emergency at that time and the government's decision is needed as the current law does not specify what to do after the expiry date.
Previously published news reports said the commission prepared to hold the poll on May 31 last year. But the government did not agree fearing that the then ongoing crisis of power, water and gas and price hike of essentials might go against the ruling party's mayoral candidate.
On introduction of electronic voting machine (EVM), CEC said, "We hoped to use the machine experimentally in the Dhaka City Corporation polls before the parliamentary election. But we failed to execute our plan."
On electoral reform, he said none can shift from being a party candidate to an independent or rival candidate once the papers are submitted to the EC. A candidate must state his party affiliation from the beginning, he said.
On BNP's response following EC's repeated invitation to join the ongoing dialogue, he said, "I hope they will join."
Meanwhile IAB leaders suggested introducing EVM in phases in different local government elections before the parliamentary election.
EC launched dialogues with political parties on June 7 for opinions on key issues like Representation of the People Order, laws on demarcation of constituencies and appointment of election commissioners, and use of EVM.
Meanwhile, an EC statement yesterday said it is launching pilot projects in four areas of the country to assess feasibility of data collection methods and update voter list ahead of the parliamentary polls to be held in 2014.
The projects will be initially run at Kaliganj municipality of Gazipur and Patnitala of Naogaon and then at DCC Ward 18 and Palangkhali of Ukhia of Cox's Bazar.
Kaliganj and DCC Ward 18 were selected to assess response of people from all walks of life while Patnitala, bordering India, and Palangkhali, bordering Myanmar, were chosen to check if Indian and Myanmar citizens are enrolled in the list, EC sources said.
The first two projects are expected to conclude on July 31. With experience gained from the projects, EC would start preparing the voter list.