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Will not bring any political party to the polls: CEC

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Update : Monday, September 5, 2022

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Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal has commented that no political party will be brought to the polls in the forthcoming 12th National Assembly elections.

He said this in his office on Monday in response to the question whether there will be any special strategy beyond the call for bringing the political party BNP to the polls, which is adamant on the demand for the reorganization of the non-partisan caretaker government and the Election Commission.

Qazi Habibul Awal said that the current commission wants active participatory elections. Why do you want? Equilibrium occurs when there is active competitive selection. Parties create this balance all over the world. All are cordially invited – come, participate actively. He trusted and helped the Election Commission. We will not arrest anyone.’

Referring to BNP as one of the main parties, he said, ‘If they participate, the election will be more participatory. Now the political strategy of BNP, but we cannot interfere with the strategy of any political party, we do not have that jurisdiction. Now we have no obstacle to what BNP wants. But the responsibility that is assigned to us, we will move forward on the path of responsibility. If you evict me tomorrow, it will. I will not be sad for that.’

He said that the dialogue with the two parties has ended in this sense. I have done dialogue to help in decision making. After dialogue, we informed them in written form. I also held a meeting about EVM. I have also taken a decision about EVMs by experimenting. Based on our own persuasion of parties and not 300, 100, 10 or 20, we logically decided to vote for 150 seats on ballot papers and 150 seats on EVMs. They have written statements. I have reviewed them and made a decision. Many believe, many do not with this machine. But whether it will be possible to implement our decision at all will depend on whether it is available. Because most of its parts will come from abroad.

Qazi Habibul Awal said, ‘We have not only informed the party, but also the government about the views from the dialogue. Because the government should also know what the parties are saying. But the government is not of any party. Keeping that division in mind, we have informed the government.

He also said, ‘Opposition parties want free, neutral and participatory elections. We have informed the parties that. The voter list will be finally published in March next year. I can finalize the roadmap in two weeks.

The Chief Election Commissioner said, ‘We are working very carefully on EVMs. We have looked at such manipulations in EVMs, this and that and what is possible with the card. But I did not find the issue of rigging. After identification of the person, fingerprint will be displayed. Then the ballot will be opened. There will be 40 seconds. You have to vote in the meantime.’

The CEC said that one difficulty in taking votes in EVMs has been noticed by some, if a person is standing in the booth. If he says to the voter – you go, I will give the vote. That crisis is on our minds. For this we will provide CC cameras. But we will entrust the difficult responsibility to the presiding officer. If anyone interferes with voting, legally or illegally, the voting shall be stopped immediately and that person expelled. If he can’t, he will call the police and throw him out. He couldn’t do it, the police couldn’t do it either, then they will stop voting. Apart from this, if the presiding officer makes Mastan alu, then I have put in place a system of punishment.

In response to another question, the CEC said, we have to make arrangements to save EVMs in the new project. This is our plan. If the project is approved, if I can implement it and if I can’t, then I will vote.

Addressing the parties, he said, EC alone cannot conduct free, fair and acceptable elections. Teams should come forward. Leaving it to the EC alone may not be possible, although we will try.

Regarding taking four ministries including home affairs under the EC, the CEC said that the EC has authority over the concerned agencies. It may not have been implemented for a long time. It cannot be under the EC to vest the ministry. It is stated in the constitution. So if you want us to be a minister, the constitution will not allow it. By exercising the power we have, we can have fair and participatory elections.

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