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BNP demands neutral poll supportive government
BNP demands neutral poll supportive government
The Election Commission (EC) on July 16 announced a roadmap for the country’s 11th national elections. While the Awami League welcomed the move, BNP alleged the roadmap was a blueprint to bring Awami League back to power again.

Reacting to the EC’s roadmap, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir reiterated his party’s demand for an election-time neutral government to assist the EC in conducting the polls. He called upon the government to initiate measures for installing an election-time supportive government to safeguard democracy. BNP believes that there cannot be free and fair election if Sheikh Hasina remains Prime Minister during the poll as the government headed by her cannot be trusted to be neutral which is essential to save democracy.

 

BNP raised the same demand before the January 5, 2014 election and did not take part in the election as their demand was not met.
BNP raised the same demand before the January 5, 2014 election and did not take part in the election as their demand was not met.

 

How can undemocratic means such as installation of un-elected and neutral poll supportive government save democracy?

 

Does Bangladesh really need such a strange poll supportive administration to oversee parliamentary elections for safeguarding democracy despite passage of 45 years since its emergence as a democratic country? Do the political leaders still now require adult supervision by an un-elected government?

 

Whenever general elections are held in any country, there are neutral election observers, including impressive arrays of foreign teams, to oversee the election process unhindered. Interestingly, their reports always make a very cogent point in their concluding remarks - that there were instances of irregularities and cases of malpractices, but these in no way, had affected the overall outcome of the general elections. And the voting was conducted in a free, fair and transparent manner.

 

The new government is then sworn in for a period of five years and the government thus formed has the total power and full jurisdiction under, of course, all the laws of the land and subject to the rules and regulations set for conducting the state business. Whatever may be the opinion of the people in general and the parties in opposition, the incumbent government holds sway over the state apparatus on the pledge to do their mandated jobs.

One must also keep in mind that there is an independent Election Commission responsible for all the aspects of conducting this nation-wide exercise. There are law courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court as well. There are many neutral watchdogs and above all, there is a vast, vibrant and vigorous media, both electronic and print, with their investigative reports.

 

 

The same very government, whose coming to power was deemed constitutional and lawful, who had all the trust and expectations of the people to deliver, suddenly becomes untrustworthy and unfit to undertake one of its final lawful act, constitutionally imposed, to arrange and hold the general elections in the country.

 

One must also keep in mind that there is an independent Election Commission responsible for all the aspects of conducting this nation-wide exercise. There are law courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court as well. There are many neutral watchdogs and above all, there is a vast, vibrant and vigorous media, both electronic and print, with their investigative reports.

 

In no other democratic country in the world such a strange mechanism as poll supportive government has been installed. Why should Bangladesh have one? Is there any guarantee that this so-called neutral government would not itself become a more vicious problem as it did in 2007 when an Army- backed caretaker government seized power in Bangladesh? This so-called caretaker government which ruled Bangladesh for two years was de-facto Army rule under the cover of caretaker government and it undermined all democratic norms and institutions.

 

It will not be out of place here to add that the verdict of the highest court of the country on this issue has displayed its deepest wisdom in declaring the un-elected caretaker government system unlawful and ultra vires of the Constitution.

 

The preconditions for democracy to survive and flourish are healthy and truly independent democratic institutions that include the depoliticized civil administration, the military, the judiciary, the banking system, the Anti Corruption Commission, the Public Service Commission, all academic institutions, and above all, the Election Commission. Each must be equipped with competent, ethical and impartial individuals with sound and appropriate academic backgrounds. They all must be recruited through a fair process with no political interferences. They must be kept non-partisan and their sanctity must be preserved.

 

It is not un-elected, poll supportive government but a truly independent and strong Election Commission that is the pre-requisite for free and fair elections to save democracy. 




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