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Election commissioners oppose CEC’s comment on poll anomalies

  • Published at 10:07 am August 10th, 2018
CEC KM Nurul Huda
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda speaks to reporters on Tuesday, August 7, 2018

They believe his comments will encourage irregularities

The four election commissioners say they do not share Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda’s view that large-scale polls without anomalies cannot be guaranteed.

They say it is his personal opinion, and believe that such a comment will encourage irregularities.

“It could be his personal opinion. I do not support it in any way,” Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar said on Thursday. “This type of comment will encourage those who want to commit irregularities in the next general election.”

Another Election Commissioner Md Rafiqul Islam agreed, saying: “We took an oath to organize acceptable elections as per the law. This contravenes his [Huda’s] statement. I cannot accept it as the commission’s opinion.”

Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam echoed Rafiqul. “We took oath to hold free and fair elections… This [the CEC’s comment] has nothing to do with us,” she said.

Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury was of the same opinion. “It is his personal opinion. There was no such discussion at the commission,” he said. “I took an oath to organize neutral elections.”

Also Read- CEC: I cannot assure anomaly-free election

‘There could be slips’

Ruling Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has advised the CEC to practise more restraint when speaking.

“In light of the reality of our country, he may have thought this [anomalies in polls] to be true,” Quader told reporters reacting to Huda’s comment. “But he should be more restrained in his speeches. He is heading a state organization.”

He continued: “He [Huda] speaks well but there can be slips. I hope he will not issue such statements in future.”

Quader’s party has been in power since 2008. It is seeking a third consecutive term in office. The next national election is scheduled for late 2018.

The incumbent Huda-led Election Commission took office in February last year. It earned praise for organizing the Comilla and Rangpur city polls. 

But it faced severe criticism for the irregularities in the five latest city polls. The BNP has alleged that there were anomalies on election day in some of the cities,—and have demanded the election be held again.

Foreign observers have also expressed concerns over election irregularities. Political analysts say anomalies in city polls, which took place only months before the national election, are causing the people to lose faith in the Election Commission.