The election commissioner did not clarify what reform is actually necessary to change the electoral process
Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar on Tuesday underscored the need for reform of the overall electoral process.
Dhaka's city corporation elections raised questions over the future of elections and democracy in the country, he said.
“Visible absence of opposition parties in polling centres makes us all question the election results. So reform of the electoral process and changes in election management has become imperative,” said Talukdar while speaking to journalists at his Agargaon office.
However, the election commissioner did not clarify what reform is actually necessary to change the electoral process.
When the election process fails, it hampers the regular process of handover of power, said Talukdar while reading out his speech.
He further opined: “All the political parties can only ensure the future of election and democracy in a discussion table. Otherwise, Bangladesh will be on the path to uncertainty.
“The existence of an electoral code of conduct does not matter if it is not adhered to. Nothing was done to address the complaints regarding the violation of electoral codes,” said Talukdar.
Violation of electoral code of conduct and absence of taking any action on are the main components of an election where entities have free reign to do whatever they please, he continued.
Talukdar also asked whether the reluctance of voters in this election is an indication of a lack of democracy in Bangladesh.
He added that the unusually low number of the votes that were cast can be an ominous sign for democracy, but it is reality.
Election Commission data shows the turnout was 29.2% for Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) election and only 25.30% for Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) in the recently held elections.
It was 35.87% for DNCC and 48.57% for DSCC in the elections in 2015.
The previous city corporation elections in held in Bangladesh since 1994 had turnouts of approximately 60-80%.