Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday, July 31 said it seems that foreign observers are sure of Election Commission’s capacity in holding a free and fair national election as per the country’s constitution.
After a meeting with foreign observers at his secretariat office in the capital he said to the journalists, “Election monitoring team came to meet me. They asked various questions about the next election especially what’s the government’s preparations in holding the polls and the state of the Election Commission.”
US political analyst Terry L Easley and Irish journalist and Political Editor at EU Reporter Nick Powell and Election Monitoring Forum Chairman Abed Ali, its directors: Professor Dr Abul Kalam Azad, Dr Azadul Haque, Mohammad Iqbal Bahar and Awami League Relief and Social Welfare Secretary Aminul Islam Amin joined the meeting.
Hasan Mahmud, also Awami League joint general secretary, said he apprised the observers that polls will be held under the EC and the current government will only play the role of facilitator.
The minister told the observers, after the announcement of election schedule, the government doesn’t have any authority on those institutions concerned with holding the polls including field administration, police and public administration. Without EC’s permission, the government cannot transfer or take punitive measures against any officer during election time.
Hasan Mahmud said, “I think they realized that it is possible for the Election Commission to hold a free, fair, neutral and beautiful election in light with the constitution. The government will play a minor role during the eelction-time and the Election Commission has the biggest role.”
The Minister further said,“They have known how much strong decision the Election Commission has taken in the recent times. For example, though there was objection from the ruling party, the Election Commission cancelled the by-polls to Gaibandha-5. Recent city corporation elections were held in a very much free, fair and neutral manner and voters’ participation was over 50 percent.”
He mentioned that during a city corporation election, a candidate came under attack which was not admissible. But the person, who attacked the candidate, was arrested along with his accomplices. In Dhaka-17 by-election, all of those who harassed a candidate were arrested. He added that over 50 people were killed in the West Bengal’s local government election,
Asked about BNP’s participation in election, Hasan Mahmud said most of the BNP leaders want to take part in the elections. BNP is such a party, which is not allowing anyone of the party to take part in any election including local body polls. He said, “But almost everyone of the party (BNP) wants to contest election. We have seen it in the city corporation elections. We have seen it in case of Ukil Abdus Sattar. Many Abdus Sattar like him will be found in the next elections.”