Decision on Army deployment before polls: CEC

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DHAKA, Oct 26, 2017 (BSS) – The Election Commission will decide on deployment of army before the next general election which is still far away, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) said today.

“The Election Commission has the jurisdiction to deploy army during polls. . . It is possible to deploy army within the purview of the existing Election commission law,” KM Nurul Huda said in a formal briefing at the Nirbachan Bhaban.

The CEC briefed journalists on the EC’s electoral dialogue with various political parties, members of the civil society and media over a span of long three months.

During the EC dialogue, most political parties wanted the deployment of the army before the next general elections.

Most civil society members spoke of restoring the “No vote” system and ensuring a level playing field for all political parties.

The EC got over 400 recommendations during the dialogue with the major political parties and members of the civil society for the next general elections due in December 2018.

These recommendations are categorically divided into three segments —some are related to the constitution, some are legal affairs related and some recommendations are related to the EC. The EC will compile these recommendations and publish into a book by December, 2017.

The EC held dialogue with forty-five organizations including the political parties in last three months.

As part of the dialogue, the EC discussed with the representatives of the civil society on July 31, mass media representatives on August 16-17, members of 40 political parties from August 24 to October 19, election observers on October 22, women leaders on October 23 and election specialists on October 24.

On October 15, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) placed a 20-point proposal in the EC-hosted dialogue over holding the next parliament election in a free, fair and neutral manner.

At the dialogue, BNP proposed forming a poll-time election-supportive government, dissolution of incumbent parliament before the general election, withdrawal of all cases against the party leaders and activists including chairperson Khaleda Zia, immediate release of all political leaders and activists, stopping enforced disappearance, killing, harassment and various ways of intimidation and creation of level playing field from right now through allowing all political parties, equal scope to exercise their all normal democratic political rights.

The written proposals sought an effective initiative to withdraw all cases filed against Khaleda Zia and other party leaders filed during the former army-backed caretaker government.

On October 18, EC held dialogue with the delegations of the ruling party Awami League that submitted a 11-point proposal for holding free, fair and neutral parliamentary election.

The recommendations include keeping the constituency boundaries from the 10th parliamentary elections, using electronic voting machines (EVMs), and ensuring voting provisions of expatriate Bangladeshis.

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