EC has nothing to do with polls-time govt, CEC says in response to BNP demand

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“There is no scope to go beyond the Constitution and the law. The election will have to be held in the existing constitutional system,” Huda said at a media conference wrapping up the talks on the next parliamentary election on Thursday.

“It’s not possible for us to bring constitutional changes.”

In the long dialogue on the next polls, the BNP and its allies pitched a non-partisan government that can facilitate a free and fair election, alleging such an election will not be possible for the Awami League in power.

They also spoke about a political consensus before the election.

Huda, however, apparently frustrated the BNP and its allies.

It is not up to the commission to decide whether the current parliament will continue to function during the next general elections, he added.

The BNP has been demanding a neutral government during the next polls after boycotting the 2014 election for the demand for a caretaker government. The party is yet to provide a detailed outline of the election-time government it wants for the next parliamentary polls.

In response to the BNP’s demand, the ruling Awami League leaders have said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would be heading the government during the next polls as per the Constitution.

Huda also said the EC had ‘no scope’ for creating pressure on the government over an issue beyond the commission’s authority.

“We have no scope for creating pressure on the government for issues such as dissolving parliament or formation of a government that can facilitate free and fair polls,” Huda said in a clear reference to the BNP’s demand.

He also said the commission would not take any step to reduce the chasm between the political parties or help them reach a consensus.

In reply to a reporter’s query whether they would initiate any such move, he replied: “No. We won’t take any initiative for a consensus.

“Political issues should better be settled politically (by the political parties).”

About the proposals placed in the dialogue, he said the EC would fulfil those in its authority and forward the others to the government and parliament.

“We will implement those we can for a fair election. We will forward the issues related to passing laws to parliament and those linked to Constitution to the government,” he said.

He said the EC would decide on deployment of the army, as demanded by many of parties including the BNP, after considering the situation during the election.

Election Commissioners Mahbub Talukder, Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam and Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, were also present at the media conference.

Huda said there was no need for changing the existing laws for holding fair polls.

“The EC has and will have the control during elections. There is no need for changing laws. Implementing the existing laws will be enough to maintain order during the polls,” he said.

He warned the officials against irregularities or neglect of duty during the polls.

He also said the commission was not under pressure from the government.

The CEC expressed satisfaction over ending the talks with 40 political parties, distinguished citizens, media and other stakeholders by the deadline the commission set in its roadmap for the next election.

He said the EC was working on compiling over 400 proposals it received during the dialogue and publish it by December.

He also hinted that there would be no more dialogues before the next polls.

Hope for BNP’s inclusion

The CEC thinks the commission has gained the confidence of election stakeholders through the dialogue.

In reply to a reporter’s query, he said, “I hope the BNP and all other parties will take part in the next parliamentary election.”

He defended his statement during the talks with the BNP that the party’s founder Ziaur Rahman ‘reinstated multiparty democracy in the country’.

He reiterated the remark at the media conference and said he “owns up to it”.

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