Describing the new Election Commission EC as an Awami League-backed Commission of bureaucrats, Jatiya Party on Sunday voiced doubt whether it will be able to hold neutral and credible polls.
“The newly appointed Election Commission is an Awami League-supported bureaucrat-dependent one,” said Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
Talking to reporters after a meeting of Jatiya Party presidium members at the Banani office of its Chairman, he also said the activities of the new EC will exhibit how impartial they are.
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Earlier on Saturday, President Abdul Hamid appointed former defence secretary Kazi Habibul Awal as the new Chief Election Commissioner.
Based on the search committee’s recommendations, he also appointed Brigadier General Ahsan Habib Khan (retd), former district and sessional judge Begum Rashida Sultana, former senior secretaries Mohammad Alamgir and Anisur Rahman as the four other commissioners of the new EC.
The tenure of the immediate past EC, led by KM Nurul Huda, expired on February 14.
Replying to a question, Chunnu said both BNP and Awami League could not hold neutral elections.
He recalled that their party’s late Chairman HM Ershad had earlier proposed the introduction of proportional representation in elections. “There’s no alternative to the proportional representation system for free, fair and neutral elections.”
This is a concept meaning that the number of parliamentary seats won by a party is proportional to the number of votes it received.
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“It’s possible to have a fair election only in a proportional representation system,” the Jatiya Party secretary general said.
He, however, said political parties need to trust each other and cooperate with each other for holding the polls in a fair and acceptable manner.
“Fair elections will never be possible in Bangladesh if the political parties don’t reach a consensus about the election system,” he observed.
According to the current law on the Election Commission, Chunnu said the employees of the republic will work under the EC during the election period and they’re bound to listen to its orders. “But nothing has been said about what will happen if they don't obey (the EC’s orders).”
He said their party had a demand for enacting the law empowering the EC to take action against those who will defy its orders during the election period.
“The government didn’t enact that law. If a law is enacted empowering the Election Commission and the Commission shows goodwill, then fair elections will be possible. Or else, fair elections are difficult,” Chunnu opined.
Responding to another question, he said Jatiya Party is an election-oriented party, and they will decide whether they should join the next general elections or not under the new EC before the polls.