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Dhaka Tribune

EC in soup with election as major parties differ, says CEC Habibul Awal

The commission is facing a dilemma because of contrasting stances of the major political parties

Update : 18 Jul 2022, 07:53 PM

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal on Monday said the commission is facing a dilemma because of contrasting stances of the major political parties over the next parliamentary polls.

"I am in difficulty in regard to the election. One big party is saying that it will not participate. Another party is saying that there will be elections. There is a dilemma in the political environment," he said.

He made this comment at a dialogue with the Bangladesh Islamic Front at Election Commission headquarters.

He once again vowed to hold free and peaceful elections by any means. If necessary, he said, he will leave the responsibility and make the way easier.

"We want to have an acceptable election and the formation of a beautiful parliament and government. What BNP is demanding, they have to gain it through dialogue and movement. Because the constitution is involved in it," he added

The CEC said there should be a representative government. “There is no other choice. If the election is not a genuine election, we will never go for staging a drama in the name of vote.”

"We have no affection or dislike (for any party). We have only one job: People should be allowed to exercise their right to vote. We will definitely try to take legal action if voters are prevented from voting in villages, towns and cities," he warned.

Habibul said that the Election Commission has a lot of powers. In the past it may not have been able to fully exercise that power for some reasons, “But we will try to implement it.”

The process of bringing various ministries under the EC during elections is complex. There are constitutional issues involved. All political parties can have a dialogue on this among themselves, he explained.

He said that if BNP can achieve what it wants after reaching an agreement with Awami League, then the EC cannot have any objection.

"We want acceptable elections. We want to create a favorable environment and level playing field,” he added.

An 11-member delegation led by Bangladesh Islami Front Chairman Allama Mohammad Abdul Mannan participated in the dialogue with the EC.

The Election Commissioners and senior officers also participated in it.

Islami Front’s general secretary MA Matin presented nine written proposals to the EC.

This includes bringing the local government, public administration, home, defense and finance ministries under the Election Commission in a constitutional manner during elections.

Party General Secretary MA Matin said that the caretaker government system can never be a permanent system. An independent EC can offer the nation free and fair elections. However, questions have been raised about the powers of the EC.

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