Electoral system has collapsed: speakers

Staff Correspondent | Published: 23:57, Feb 15,2020


Guests and dignitaries attend the seventh national council of Citizens for Good Governance at Diploma Engineers’ Institution in Dhaka on Saturday. — New Age photo

Governance campaigners on Saturday said that the electoral system in Bangladesh has collapsed and it needs to be restored immediately to save the democratic system.

Addressing the seventh national conference of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik, a non-government organisation campaigning for good governance, at the Institution of Diploma Engineers, Bangladesh, they said that the activities of the ruling quarters were creating barriers to restore electoral system as well as democracy.

Former caretaker government adviser Akbar Ali Khan said that voter turnout in the 11th parliamentary polls might have been hardly 30 per cent and it was shown 80 per cent adding 50 per cent ‘farcically’.

He said voter turnout in the national polls was shown to be more than 80 per cent and on the other hand it was less than 30 per cent in city corporation polls.

Usually, voter turnout in general elections remain low because political parties are not organised at grassroots level as per expectation, he said.

But when union parishad or municipality polls take place, local candidates remain proactive and they put extra effort to ensure that their relatives, friends and well-wishers cast their votes, he said.

‘So, in no way voter turnout of general election could surpass the turnout of municipality polls,’ he added.

The overall turnout in the recently held Dhaka South City Corporation polls was 29 per cent while it was 25.32 per cent in the Dhaka North City Corporation election.

Akbar Ali Khan said the Election Commission should examine turnout at each polling centre before declaring the polls result.

If it is seen that turnout is above 95 per cent then they should immediately suspend the voting on the ground of false votes, he said.

If the commission can monitor voting in such a way, many irregularities would be resolved, he added.

He also said no effective measure was taken to earn people’s trust on Electronic Voting Machines and its function.

The EVMs seemed to be effective considering the technology, he said. But, in many countries there are controversies regarding EVMs and it is necessary to be cautious about their use in Bangladesh, he added.

Former chief election commissioner Mohammad Abu Hena said that ensuring good governance without honest and efficient public representatives was not possible and without credible and acceptable elections electing honest people was also not be possible.

Former caretaker government adviser M Hafizuddin Khan said there was no symptom of fare election in immediate future.

He urged the people to wage movement to ensure governance and democracy.

Shujon secretary Badiul Alam Majumder said that the destroying of the electoral system could be a reason of peaceful handing over of the power.

Among others former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal general secretary Khalekuzzaman, Ganosamhati Andolan convener Zonayed Saki and Dhaka University teacher Robaet Ferdous speak at the programme.

About 1,000 activists of Shujon participated in the conference from different unions, upazilas and districts across the country.

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