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Bangladesh - January 6, 2024

Peaceful elections to be difficult: CEC

Staff Correspondent : Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal said that it will be difficult to hold a peaceful election. He said that some opposition partiesare trying to resist the vote boycott. This will make it difficult to hold elections peacefully. Hope the voters will come. Wait another 24 hours, you might see it.
He said these things at the ‘Meet the Press’ event on the 12th National Assembly elections at the Bangabandhu International Conference Center in the capital on Saturday afternoon. Domestic and foreign journalists and observers were present in it.
CEC said, set fire to the train. Attempts are being made to set fire to polling stations. Those who went on strike (BNP) also said they would hold a peaceful programme. We believed that the anti-poll campaign would be carried out peacefully.
Habibul Awal said, we are saddened by the fire. If any party has done this, I consider it an unforgivable crime.
Many of the election analysts are calling this election a selection, so how much acceptance will this election get? He said, Is the Election Commission a political party? Whether there is trust in the commission or not there is trust between the parties? What would an expert say, hold off elections for 10 years, vote when the parties come to an agreement? So, I will close the selection?
The CEC also said that not a single official of the EC will be involved in polling. If there is rigging in that election, some responsibility will fall on us. The presiding officer always holds power at the centre. Repeatedly reminded of his responsibility. So, you (journalist) also have to take responsibility. Because, the media will have free rights in the polling station. They also have important responsibilities. Transparency can increase acceptance of elections.
In response to another question, the Chief Election Commissioner said that many people are saying selection, not only selection but also saying something else. Let me make it clear that our job is to organize elections, not to engage in political debates. This crisis is political.
There are no clear criteria for acceptance. Some will say – accepted, some will say not. You try to make it visible. It will be accepted at home and abroad. People will understand the real picture even if the media shows the real picture.
In response to another question, he said that more than 8 lakh law enforcement personnel are engaged in the security of voters during polling. Major parties are conducting anti-poll activities. We don’t mind if it’s peaceful. Saying not to go to the polling station is a crime. This is our challenge.
In response to a Japanese journalist’s question about the US visa policy, the CEC said, “It is not the Commission’s responsibility, but who will participate.” The commission will invite everyone to participate in the election. Elections should be free, fair and acceptable. They (US) believe in free and fair elections. This policy will be applied to those who obstruct in this matter. We are not disrupting elections. We don’t know who is setting fire, killing people. We are striving for free, fair elections from our place. We are not identified with it. Because it’s none of our business. I don’t understand what is visa, what is passport, what is economy. The Foreign Office understands this.
Habibul Awal said in response to the question that who will be the opposition party, who will be the government after this election, are you embarrassed in this situation, it is not our business. If there is an election, they will decide in the parliament. We are not at all embarrassed by this.
He said, I want to say – we believe in acceptable, participatory and transparent elections. Not only locally, we want it to be observed internationally.

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