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Sunday, April 26, 2015, Baishakh 13, 1422 BS, Rajab 6, 1436 Hijr

Thrust on polls code revision to make it time befitting
Published : Sunday, 26 April, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM,  View Count : 143

Saleem Samad
The code of conduct of the Election Commission needs to be thoroughly overhauled to suit a proactive policy to enable a level playing field for vote aspirants, says an expert on election observation.
Dr Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah, Chairman of JANIPOP, a voluntary organisation for monitoring elections, advised the change in election code of conduct, which does not match with the present day reality. "There is a gray area in the election rules," he remarked.
He said if strictly implemented the code of conduct for electioneering and polls campaign, will cause irritation, tension, annoyance and often frustration among rival candidates.
Providing an example Dr Kalimullah told the Daily Observer on Saturday that the election rules practically ignore the realities of different seasons in the country, especially when local government polls are held at different times.
The rules for posters for election campaign stipulate that the posters should be in black and white papers, which is easily washed away or torn in the Baishakh rainfall.
Dr Kalimullah, also professor of Public Administration of Dhaka University said the rules should be amended to have digital printed banners in PVC materials, which will not be damaged in rain or sunshine.
Several complaints in Dhaka and Chittagong have been lodged with EC and election monitoring groups regarding damages to the election campaign's only tool - posters. In reality the posters were defaced by thunder storm during the night, he observed.
If the candidates would have been allowed to use PVC materials for election campaign, it was less likely to be damaged during seasonal rain, the chairman of JANIPOP said.
"What the EC does for each national and local government elections is photocopy  the existing rules and warns the candidates to strictly abide by the code of conduct, further threatening to block the aspirants electioneering," Dr Kalimullah said.
He demanded that the EC should not only review the code of conduct to make it time befitting, but also urged the election conducting authority to revamp the rules to ensure absolute participatory election for all parties.
On the other hand, the EC usually does strictly enforce the rules during the electioneering for obvious reasons, which may invite unwarranted criticism from civil society, media and the candidates too.
Which the EC fears may jeopardise a free, fair and credible electioneering. When the issue has been raised by election monitoring groups and civil society with the EC, the election bosses have a logical resolution to the issue. They explain that if they implement the rules word for word, most candidates would be declared ineligible, which provoke controversy over the EC legitimacy to hold the election, Dr Kalimullah remarked.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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