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3 March, 2017 00:00 00 AM
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‘EC must act impartially to gain people’s trust’

STAFF REPORTER

Eminent citizens have said that the major challenge before the newly appointed Election Commission (EC) was to restore people’s confidence about its impartiality.
Former chief election commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said: “It’s very important for the new commission to gain the trust of the people. It can gain such trust through its utterances and work showing that the body does not support any party. It should be careful not to create any doubt through its actions.”
The observation was made at a roundtable on ‘Challenges before the New Commission’, organised by Shushasoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), a civil society platform for good governance, Tat the Jatiya Press Club in the capital, with Shujan president M Hafizuddin Khan in the chair.
Shamsul Huda also suggested that the newly constituted EC should hold talks with political parties.
Participants at the discussion said that the EC should work to change people’s notions about the commission because they are always in doubt about casting their votes without intimidation.
Former election commissioner Brig. Gen. (retd) M Shakhawat Hussain said: “The major challenge for this commission is to change people’s perception. People always express their misgivings about being allowed to cast their votes.”
He also said that the EC alone would not be able to hold acceptable polls and that the attitude of the election-time government was crucial.
Columnist Syed Abul Maksud said, “The commission’s duty is to guarantee a level-playing field for all political parties during elections. Only administrative skill is not enough to hold fair and impartial elections. It also needs moral strength.”
Former Cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder suggested the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) on a limited scale in local body polls before the general elections.

Shujan secretary Badiul Alam Majumder presented the keynote paper, listing 19 challenges before the new commission. The challenges included the number of commissioners, maintenance of independence and impartiality, recruitment of officers through deputation, keeping reforms going, amending the legal framework, implementation of law, preparation of the voters’ roll, carrying out delimitation, prevention of violence, and enforcing the electoral code of conduct.
 He alleged that the previous EC had derailed the electoral system, creating distrust among the people about the poll machinery. Asif Nazrul, a professor of Dhaka University, said: “An impartial and fair poll cannot be expected if there is no election-time supportive government.”

 

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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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