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Dhaka Tribune

EWG finds several violations of the electoral code of conduct

Update : 26 Apr 2015, 09:17 PM

The electoral code of conduct has been violated during the campaign of city corporation elections in Dhaka and Chittagong, according to the Election Working Group (EWG).

Presenting its findings during the campaign period of April 7-23, EWG Director Dr Md Abdul Alim said  the violation occurred a significant amount of times, both by the mayoral and the councillor candidates in the three city corporations. The presentation took place at a press conference in the National Press Club in Dhaka yesterday.

According to the EWG’s observation, three major violations took place during the campaign period.

One of them was by Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, who said he was above the electoral code of conduct. The Election Commission sent him a letter asking him to refrain from joining the campaign, but he ignored the request and actively participated in the campaign.

The second violation was the attack on BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s campaign motorcade on April 20 in Karwan Bazar, Dhaka. Around 150 activists of different wings of the Awami League vandalised the vehicles in Khaleda’s motorcade.

The third major violation was committed by a member of Awami League’s advisory council, who said the Election Commission might ask for army deployment, but the government would deny its request.

To observe the electoral campaigns in Dhaka North, Dhaka South and Chittagong city corporations, the EWG appointed 67 long-term observers (LTO) – 18 in the DNCC, 28 in the DSCC and 21 in the CCC. 

Throughout the campaign, the LTOs also observed minor or small-scale violations made by the mayoral and councillor candidates.

For example, the electoral code of conduct clearly states that candidates are not to use party affiliation information during the campaign, but the mayoral candidates and councillor aspirants in all three city corporations used political identities for their campaigning purpose.

Also, the stipulated time for using microphones and loudspeakers was from 2pm to 9pm, but the candidates were found to be using loudspeakers outside of the allocated time for their campaign procedure. 

The returning officers were also found to be a weak deterrent to rule-breaking by the candidates, despite the fact that they had the powers to cancel candidacies where appropriate.

The EWG director also said voters had expressed concern to EWG LTOs regarding their safety and security on the day of the election. 

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