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18 December, 2018 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 18 December, 2018 01:19:16 AM
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Level-playing field doesn’t exist, says EC Talukder

STAFF REPORTER, Dhaka

Election commissioner Mahbub Talukder does not think there is any level playing field in the 11th parliamentary elections, scheduled to be held on December 30. “I don’t think that there is any level playing field in the election at all. The term ‘level playing field’ has now turned into a meaningless word,” he said. Talukder made this comment in reply to written questions by journalists, who placed a number of queries yesterday (Tuesday) about the elections.

In reply to another query—which went as “that the chief election commissioner (CEC) said there is a level playing field, do you oppose the CEC?”—he said, “I never oppose the comments made by him (the CEC). He speaks his own. If necessary, I place a note of dissent. You are journalists. You keep information of the country and see everything. Ask your conscience: Is there any level playing field in the election? You will get the answer.”

In reply to another query whether fair elections can be held when the Opposition is facing obstructions in its election campaign, he said, “I’m an optimistic person. The pledge for holding free and fair elections has to be maintained within the time that is still left. The executive and judicial magistrates and electoral enquiry committee should play an effective role. I think the situation will change optimistically when the Army will be deployed.”

Answering a query as to where the CEC thinks elections will be free and fair if all parties contest, he said, “It is said that the participation of all parties is meant for fair elections. There is no relation with it. The participation in elections is a primary achievement. The real thing is whether the elections are acceptable and credible. If the elections are not acceptable and credible, participation will have no meaning.”

When asked about the control of EC over public administration and law enforcement agencies, he said, “The EC does not hold polls directly. It is conducted by the returning officer and the officials and law enforcers concerned. The top officials of law enforcers are under the control of the EC. They can say how much control they have over their own forces.”

In reply to another query of his message about elections, he said, “The general elections are a mammoth task. Candidates, votes, even the law enforcers are not above the law. Let the law take its own course. Follow the electoral code of conduct. Assist to make the election a success.” On different occasions, this commissioner has opposed various decisions of the EC, such as the introduction of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in general elections hastily without consultation with the political parties. On the EVM issue, he even boycotted the full commission meeting and protested the decision.

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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