Dhaka, Nov 25 (UNB) - Though the European Union will refrain from sending its observers to monitor the upcoming 11the parliamentary elections for what it says a lengthy process, the Election Commission (EC) hoped that observers from different countries will arrive to oversee polls.
The Election Commission (EC) is scheduled to sit in a high-level meeting on Sunday to discuss security, visa processing and accommodation of foreign observers and journalists who will come here to monitor the election.
Joint Secretary (PR) of the Election Commission office SM Asaduzzaman said the meeting will be held at Agargaon Nirbachan Bhaban with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda in the chair.
Officials from Home, Foreign Affairs Ministries as well as senior officials concerned of the Department of Immigration and Passport will attend the meeting, he said.
Earlier on Monday, Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Alam met the CEC to discuss issues relating to the meeting.
Sources at the EC office said though the European Union sent a large number of election observers in the 2008 and 2001 elections they did not send observers for the January 5 election in 2014 due to pre-election violence across the country.
The high-level meeting will also discuss how to complete necessary formalities if foreign observers want to monitor the election.
Sources at the Election Commission said a total of 8,874 observers from 35 local organisations and only four foreign observers came to Bangladesh to monitor in the 10th parliamentary elections held on January 5, 2014, while some 1.59 lakh local observers and 593 foreign observers monitored the 2008 national election, 2.18 lakh local observers and 225 foreign observers watched the 2001 general election, 40,000 local observers and 265 foreign observers monitored the 1996 (7th) national election and 30,000 local observers and 59 foreign observers monitored the 1991 national parliamentary elections.
Meanwhile, the Commission held meeting with 118 local observer organisations registered with the Election Commission last Tuesday. EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed instructed them on their duties during the election.
Earlier, the Election Commission invited applications from both local and foreign observers to watch the upcoming national election.
Foreign observers were suggested to apply through the Foreign Ministry as the EC has a plan to complete their appointment process by the first week of December.
Dhaka, Nov 24 (UNB) – Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) president Oil Ahmed on Saturday called upon freedom fighters to get united and engage in a ‘fight of vote’ on the national election day to ‘restore’ democracy and people’s rights.
“We’re 18 crore people while only 2-5 lakh people will be engaged in election duties… so we must get united on that day to free the nation and restore democracy,” he said.
Speaking at a discussion, Oli further said, “We’re not against the Prime Minister and Awami League. Our target is to restore people’s lost rights. We took part in the Liberation War earlier and now we want to involve in a battle of vote with united efforts.”
Jatiyatabadi Muktijoddha Dal, freedom fighters' wing of BNP, arranged the programme on the role of freedom fighters in the upcoming election and their responsibilities at the Jatiya Press Club.
Oli, also a valiant freedom fighter, urged his colleagues to go to their respective areas and encourage people, including the women, to go to polling stations with courage to bring back their rights.
“I also call upon those freedom fighters who are with Awami League to stand in favour of people the way you fought during the Liberation War for them. There’s no point of leading your lives like cowards,” he said.
Stating that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the Armed Forces Day did not remember the freedom fighters who are alive, the LDP chief told the freedom fighters that the ruling party is only using them for its own interests. “How long do you want to be used? Now get united for the sake of the country’s people. There could be differences of opinions among us over various issues, but we should remain united when it comes to the country’s interests.”
About BNP’s seat sharing with its alliance partners, Oli said all the parties should be logical about it. “We must nominate those candidates who have competence, courage, acceptability and popularity among people.”
He said the nomination hopefuls of Jatiya Oikyafront and the 20-party should not think they will contest the polls depending on BNP’s popularity depriving the party’s capable candidates.
“Our main target should be freeing the country. And if I have to sacrifice my interests to this end, I’ll do it. I also told BNP to nominate candidates based on their capability, not based on any number for any party as we’ll have to form government wining the polls,” Oil added.
He, however, urged BNP and the alliance partners to give priority to freedom fighters in selecting the candidates.
“Get united and ready to go to power, not for making your own fortune but for people’s welfare,” Oli said.
Speaking at the programme, Nagorik Oikya Convener Mahmudur Rahman Manna said Oikyafront is moving ahead with some strategies to ensure its victory in the election.
He observed that the ruling party leaders and activists will flee if the Oikyafront leaders and activists can go to their respective areas with courage. “We’ll ensure the defeat of the government through a vote revolution.”
Gonoshasthya Kendra founder Dr Zafrullah Chowdhury urged the Oikyafront leaders to encourage people by visiting every house to go to the polling stations to cast their votes and thus restore their all rights.
He also called upon the officials of police and civil administrations to work neutrally for the sake of ensuring a credible election.
Dhaka, Nov 24 (UNB) – The names of the candidates of Awami League and its alliance who will contest the upcoming national election will be announced within two days, said AL general secretary Obaidul Quader on Saturday.
Quader, also the Road Transport and Bridges Minister, came up with the remarks after a meeting with its alliance parties at the AL office at Bangabandhu Avenue.
“We discussed various issues, including seat-sharing one, and it’ll be finalised tonight (Saturday night). After that, the names of the final candidates will be made public within a day or two,” he said.
Quader held meetings with Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal president and also Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu, and Workers' Party President and also Social Welfare Minister Rashed Khan Menon, and Jatiya Party leaders Moshiur Rahman Ranga, Mujibul Haque Chunnu and Kazi Firoz Rashid.
Dhaka, Nov 24 (UNB) - BNP on Saturday alleged that ‘partisan’ and ‘controversial’ officials of the police and civil administrations are regularly holding ‘clandestine’ meetings to ensure Awami League candidates’ win in the upcoming general election.
“The officials of the police and civil administrations are conspiring to put unpopular Awami League in power again,” said BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi.
He came up with the allegation at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office.
The BNP leader said they came to know that police and admin officials held a secret meeting on Tuesday last at the Officer’s Club conference room for two and a half hours and reviewed the ruling party’s election engineering plan.
Rizvi claimed that Prime Minister’s Office secretary Sazzadul Hasan, Pubic Administration secretary Faiz Ahmed, EC secretary Helaluddin Ahmed, Water Resources secretary Kabir Bin Anwar, Civil Aviation secretary Mohibul Haque , Dhaka Divisional Commissioner and Dhaka city returning officer Ali Azam, PM’s APS-1 Kazi Nishat Rasul and officials of police , Rab, DMP and Counter-terrorism unit were present at the meeting .
At the meeting, he alleged that the officials discussed that Awami League candidates’ victory is certain in 33 seats while there will be strong fights in 60-65 seats. “But it won’t be possible to ensure their victory in the rest of the seats without election engineering.”
Under the circumstances, he said, they decided that the Election Commission will seriously refrain from extending cooperation to BNP and Jatiya Oikyafront during the election without reshuffling the administration.
The BNP leader also claimed that the meeting chalked out a plan to create a situation by intensifying the drive against opposition leaders and activists and making some candidates disappeared so that BNP and its alliances are forced to stay away from the election.
Rizvi said the officials also made a plan to carry out serious repressive acts on opposition leaders and activists if Oikyafront remains there in the polls till the voting day so that the supporters of the ‘Sheaf of Paddy’ do not dare go to polling stations. “They also made a plan to stage a coup through media if they fail to resist voters, and then take the situation brutally under their control.”
He said though they submitted a list of partisan officials to the Election Commission and informed it about their illegal activities, the Commission is yet to take any action against them.
The BNP leader renewed their party’s demand for withdrawing the controversial officials from the election duties and different important posts.
Dhaka, Nov 24 (UNB) - Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Saturday said police are not arresting anyone without any reason going beyond the directives of the Election Commission as they are now under his commission’s control.
"Police obey our directives. They arrest no one without any reason going beyond our directives," he told reporters replying to a question at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
The CEC made the remarks after the inaugural session of the EC's three-day briefing arranged for giving its directives to executive magistrates for preventing the violation of the electoral code of conduct in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
The first day's briefing started at 10am with the participation of executive magistrates deployed in election duty in 18 districts.
"The Commission has given directives to the police. The police have also made commitments to us. They’re working accordingly," he said.
In reply to a question, Nurul Huda said the government does not give any directive to the Commission over the election. "There’s no directive from the government. Rather, our election-related directives are now visible there in the field," he said.
The CEC said now the level-playing field prevails in the country.
At the inaugural session, the CEC and four election commissioners -- Mahbub Talukder, Shahadat Hossain, Rafiqul Islam and Kabita Khanom -- were present.
The Commission in the three-day briefing will give directives to the executive magistrates over how to conduct drives against and punishing the violation of electoral code of conduct in the 11th national election slated for December 30.
Magistrates from Dhaka, Gopalganj, Cumilla, Gazipur, Munshiganj, Narayanganj, Tangail, Faridpur, Manikganj, Kishoreganj, Sherpur, Rajbari, Madaripur, Mymensingh, Netrakona, Jamalpur, Shariatpur and Narsingdi are there in the first day briefing.
On November 12, the EC directed the Public Administration Ministry to appoint executive magistrates at the field level to check the violation of the electoral code of conduct.
The EC asked the ministry to appoint one executive magistrate for every upazila, one for three to four wards of city corporations, one to two magistrates for each district sadar municipality and one magistrate for three to four upazilas of the Chattogram Hill Tracts.
The Commission asked the ministry to keep the magistrates engaged in the election duty till the next day of election (December 31).
Besides, the Commission will deploy more executive magistrates and judicial magistrates on large scale a few days before the general election.