CEC pledges to ensure level playing field in polls


DHAKA, Nov 8, 2018 (BSS)- Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda
today urged all political parties to take part in the upcoming elections for
continuity of the country’s democratic polity and development as he announced
the polls schedule pledging to ensure level playing field for all.

“Strict directives will be issued to the law enforcement agencies to ensure
that the voters, political leaders, workers, candidates, their (candidates)
supporters and polling agents are not subjected to harassment and do not face
cases without any reason,” he said.

Huda said the primary procedure to employ around seven lakh officials of
different categories was completed by now for conducting the elections.

“Executive and judicial magistrates have been appointed for every
constituency. Around six lakh members of law enforcement agencies, including
police, BGB, RAB, Coast Guard, Ansar and Village Defence Party, will be
deployed centering the ensuing polls,” he said.

He said armed forces would also be deployed “In Aide of Civil Power” law
to maintain order during the polls.

The CEC said the commission was constitutionally obligated to hold the
11th parliamentary elections within January 28, 2019.

“The countdown of the national election has already begun and the works of
buying polls materials and printing have been completed,” Huda said.

He said election related issues were discussed at the inter-ministerial
meetings and the officials of the Election Commission have devoted themselves
to the electoral duties.

The CEC said the political parties already begun their preparations ahead
of the general elections while the civil society members and political
commentators were expressing their opinions as well.

“Different media are publishing different articles, opinions and
recommendations on election while TV channels are arranging talk shows
centering the polls,” he added.

Huda said senior political leaders held dialogues with the Prime Minister
for holding a participatory and fair election while many organizations from
home and abroad are expressing their interests to observe the polls.

“Congenial atmosphere has been created across the country for holding the
upcoming parliamentary elections,” he said.

The election commission chief expected the candidates and their supporters
to comply with electoral laws and code of conduct and “every voter will cast
vote in favour of their chosen candidate freely”.

“The executive and judicial magistrates will ensure the enforcement of law
and the law enforcers will ensure the security of the voting centers, voters,
candidates, polling officials and agents,” he said.

Huda hoped that the observers will perform their duties by maintaining the
rules of the Election Commission. The Election Commission Secretariat will
monitor overall situation.

Urging the political parties to reduce conflicts and complexities of
diverse opinions politically, Huda said the parliament election creates the
opportunities for establishing the ownership rights of the common people and
creating room for forming a new government.

He expressed the hope that the election would be held in a contesting mode
and a participatory manner with participation of all political parties.

The CEC said the commission is giving importance on using technology in
election management. The candidates can submit their nomination forms by hand
or through online, he added.

He said an initiative has been taken to use Electronic Voting Machines
(EVMs) on a limited scale along with old system in the national elections.

“We believe that the use of EVMs will bring about a qualitative change in
elections and it will save time, money and reduce works,” said Nurul Huda.