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Dhaka Tribune

TIB: CEC's contradictory statements raise concerns about inclusive polls

  • Slams change in stance on inclusive election
  • Says fulfilling legal obligations alone not enough
Update : 15 Oct 2023, 08:01 PM

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed its concern about the upcoming national elections' acceptability, inclusivity and participatory nature due to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal's alleged contradictory statements. 

In a press statement issued on Sunday, the organization criticized the CEC's “perceived bias in organizing fair, free and impartial polls involving all political parties.”

TIB highlighted its disappointment in the CEC's recent remark that a fair election is possible even without the participation of all parties, contrasting with his earlier statement that the election could not be complete without the involvement of the main opposition party, the BNP. Frequent changes in the CEC's stance are viewed as suspicious and confusing, raising concerns among the public, the organization said.

Executive director of TIB Dr Iftekharuzzaman said: "If the head of the constitutional body holds such a position, fulfilling the expectation of a fair, free, impartial and participatory election becomes questionable." 

He emphasized the need for a truly participatory electoral environment, where discussions and consultations with all political parties should take place, ensuring neutrality from administration and law-enforcement forces.

Given past election experiences, TIB stressed the importance of the upcoming election being participatory and inclusive. 

TIB emphasized that the CEC must recognize that fulfilling legal obligations alone will not meet public expectations. 

The organization urged the Election Commission to take more proactive measures to fulfil its constitutional responsibility of conducting a participatory, fair, free and impartial election in line with the nation's expectations.

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