Hope for an inclusive election
In a televised address to the nation, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda yesterday announced that the 11th parliamentary election will be held on December 23. The announcement came as major contentious issues over the polls still remain unresolved. Huda unveiled the election schedule, urging all political parties to join the polls. Many analysts fear the political situation may get complicated further following the announcement of the schedule as major issues remain unsettled with the Oikyafront threatening to intensify agitation in the coming days if the schedule was announced without resolving the crisis.
The ruling party men are carrying out campaigns in full swing to drum up public support and are using posters, banners and placards to project the government successes. On the other hand, the presence of the opposition men on the streets is very thin as they are facing difficulties in conducting campaigns due to police harassment and cases filed against them in the past few years, according to newspaper reports.
However, the EC has asked all the political parties to remove their posters, banners and all kinds of objects for electoral campaigns with own initiative within the next seven days. If anyone denies to do so, the commission will take stern steps against them according to the electoral code of conduct. No political party or candidate can begin their election campaigning before the allocation of the electoral symbols. The EC will allocate the electoral symbols on November 30. The candidates can officially begin conducting their campaigns from December 1.
The EC urges all to maintain the electoral code of conducts. The EC has also asked all the political parties, who want to participate in the 11th parliamentary election through any coalition, to inform the commission in this regard within next three days.
We always advocate for free, fair, credible and inclusive elections. In every democracy there is example of irregularities that occur in elections and their goal is to improving that process. We are hopeful and optimistic as Bangladesh has the history of holding free, fair and credible elections. And now the crux of the matter lies in the trust factor.
The fundamental problem of constitutionalism in our situation has been that the key players have not accepted the rules of constitutionalism. In fact, the credibility of the entire structure has been called into question because the most influential actors who operate the levers of power have disturbingly breached the rules. There have been unsure attempts to engage the accountability mechanisms, but in the process, the authority of the constitution has sadly been dissipated.