EC expects all parties wil join polls
The Election Commission yesterday said it cannot force any political parties to take part in the next parliamentary election, but it sincerely hopes the participation of all parties.
It gave a set of opinions on the recommendations made by political parties during recently held talks.
Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) Ahsan Habib Khan said they sent their opinions to the political parties that joined the dialogue and top officials of the Prime Minister's Office, the Cabinet Division, and law, defence, public administration, home and finance ministries.
"We sent our opinions to these ministries as many political parties made several recommendations regarding them. We just informed them."
"Since the parliamentary polls are held in a day, the number of law enforcers to maintain law and order at each polling station may be insufficient or inadequate. Therefore, the commission thinks that the proposal for the army deployment to maintain law and order is logical," the EC said in letters.
The EC said having a polls-time government under interim, caretaker or all-party system is a matter of political decision.
It added that the proposal for appointing EC officials and other officials as returning officers instead of deputy commissioners is in "active consideration".
Installation of CCTV cameras in and around polling centres will be based on EC's capacity, the commission said, adding that online voting system would not be introduced.
Twenty-eight out of 39 registered political parties took part in the dialogue with the EC between July 17 and 31. They made a number of proposals for ensuring a participatory and credible election. Nine political parties, including the BNP, skipped the talks.
The BNP demands a neutral government as it believes free and fair parliamentary polls are not possible under the Awami League rule.
On July 24, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir called for handover of power to a neutral caretaker government and formation of a new EC to ensure a participatory election.
During the dialogue, most political parties said it should be ensured that all political parties, especially the major ones, join the election.
In reply, it cannot compel any party to take part in the polls and it will not make any such attempts.
"The Election Commission would continue it efforts to ensure that all political parties that skipped the talks take part in the election," said Election Commissioner Ahsan Habib.
At least 10 political parties that took part in the talks were in favour of a polls-time government under interim, caretaker or all-party system.
Regarding some political parties' demand that the public administration, home, defence and some others ministries be brought under the EC during the polls, the EC said it would be considered in line with the constitution.
The EC said proposals of introduction of a proportional representation system, bicameral legislature, increasing of parliamentary constituencies and direct election to the reserve seats for women are under the jurisdiction of parliament, the government and political leadership.
About the staggered national elections, the commission said the matter needs more scrutiny.
The commission said they would decide on using electronic voting machine later.
However, Election Commissioner Md Alamgir on Sunday said EVMs would be used in the polls. "It has yet been decided how many parliamentary constituencies will have EVM only voting."
Responding to political parties' allegations that ruling party activists bar oppositions from electioneering, the EC said it believes the ruling party men will refrain from violation of such electoral code of conduct.
The commission added that local and international observers would get access to overseeing the polls.