Next national election will be free, fair and participatory: PM
Own Correspondent, Dhaka, June 23: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed hope that the forthcoming parliamentary elections will be held in a free and fair manner with the spontaneous participation of all political parties. Her government has taken steps to make it more inclusive, acceptable and participatory.
The Prime Minister expressed her optimism in response to a question from Jatiya Party (JP) MP from Dhaka-4 (Demra-Shampur) constituency Syed Abu Hossain in Parliament on Wednesday.
The Leader of the House also outlined 11 important steps taken by the government to make the elections more inclusive and acceptable. Steps include ensuring a participatory environment for all political parties and conducting party activities during elections.
The Jatiya Party lawmaker wanted to know from the Prime Minister whether she had any special plan to ensure the participation of all political parties registered as daughters of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to make the elections more acceptable and inclusive.
In reply, Sheikh Hasina said that according to Article 118 (4) of the Constitution, the Election Commission (EC) is an independent and constitutional body.
She said, "The Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners perform their respective duties independently in accordance with the Constitution and the law. The government assists the EC as per its need."
The Prime Minister said, "I hope that the forthcoming general elections will be free and fair with the participation of all political parties."
The president of the ruling Awami League further said that the EC will be independent in conducting its activities and it would work only under the jurisdiction of the constitution and law.
She said it was the responsibility of the government and the executive to assist the EC in conducting its activities.
The Prime Minister said her government has enacted the Election Commission Act in accordance with Article 118 (1) of the Constitution to conduct local government and national elections in an acceptable and impartial manner.
She added that 22 amendment proposals raised by the oppositions had been adopted during the introduction of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners' Bills, which was the first step towards making the elections acceptable, free, fair and neutral.
Sheikh Hasina said a voter list with pictures has been prepared to make the election fair and acceptable. Transparent ballot boxes have been confirmed at polling stations. She also said that electronic voting machines (EVMs) had been introduced in a modern way.