EC Trying to Weaken Election System: BNP

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Thursday alleged that the Election Commission (EC) is trying to weaken further the country'already devastated' electoral process in the name of amending the electoral laws.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP chairperson's Gulshan office, he also turned down the Election Commission's move to enact two electoral laws and amend the Representation of the People Order (RPO) as their party thinks these 'unusual and untimely' initiative has been taken to implement the evil design of a particular quarter.

''Over three years have elapsed since the KM Nurul Huda-led Election Commission assumed office. During this period, the commission has not been able to hold even a single fair election. Under such a situation, they're making evil efforts to weaken the already shattered electoral process in the name of amending the electoral laws. It’s not justified in any way,'' Fakhrul said.

He strongly protested the EC's initiative to enact the 'Political Party Registration Act, Local Government Election Act-2020 and amend the RPO. ''This move is unusual, unexpected, and unacceptable which has been turned down by political parties, including BNP.''

The BNP leader said the corona pandemic has disrupted normal life across the globe, including in Bangladesh. ''Normalcy has not yet returned to public life in the country. Rather, the situation is becoming more worrying. Under such a situation, any new decision on issues of national importance is completely unexpected and untimely.''

Opposing the EC's step to amend the RPO, he said, the Commission has made various proposals, including curbing its authority to announce the election schedule, and cancel the candidature of any candidate for the violation of laws and rules and abolishing the presiding officers’ power to suspend voting.

"If these powers are curtailed, the Commission will become a puppet. This the worst attempt of the EC to put the last nail in the coffin of our electoral system.  They also seem to become active to permanently cripple the Election Commission as an institution. The current Election Commission wants to block the way to get a good Commission in the future,'' Fakhrul observed.

He said the Kazi Rakibuddin-led EC and the current one have completely made the electoral system ineffective over the last eight years. "The EC in 2014 held the general election without political parties while the current EC in 2018 held the election at night without voters. Through the proposed RPO, the election will be held in the future without the Election Commission.''

Fakhrul said the EC's voluntary move to curtail its power through amending the RPO is tantamount to suicide.

He said the EC also proposed handing over the National Identity Card Project and the power of making the voter list to the government. ''If it happens, the power to prepare voter lists will go to the government. There's no doubt such a list will include some people to be chosen by the ruling party, not the real voters. It's an ominous sign for the nation.''

Fakhrul said the EC should repair the damage it has already done to the electoral system and protect it from any new devastation.

The BNP leader said the people of the country and political parties that believe in democracy now do not have 'minimum respect' for the electoral system and confidence in it.

"We would like to say this Election Commission should be abolished. The people's rights must be established by ensuring the people's right to vote through a free and fair election in the country under the supervision of a neutral government and an Election Commission,'' he said.

Fakhrul urged all to get united as there is no alternative to a ‘mass movement’ to overcome the current situation.

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