June 9, 2023
DHAKA – In a bid to hold the upcoming general election in a free and fair manner, the Election Commission has decided to ensure that no government agency will file any case to harass anyone, Law Minister Anisul Huq said yesterday.
The commission will send a proposal to the government so that all the political parties can carry out election campaigns unhindered. Besides, immediate actions will be taken as per the law if a candidate or their supporters launch attacks on rival candidates and their followers, or their homes and businesses, he said.
In reply to a question from Gonoforum MP Mukabbir Khan from Sylhet-2, the minister said, “The Election Commission has taken up the challenge to hold the election in a transparent, free, fair and peaceful manner.”
In his scripted question, Mukabbir asked the minister whether the EC has any special plan to hold the 12th national polls in a free, neutral and acceptable atmosphere, without “showing allegiance to the government like the previous commissions did”.
Anisul Huq, in his scripted answer, said since there is an obligation to hold the national election by January next year, the EC has taken up an action plan to this end.
The minister talked about measures that the EC has decided to take to overcome the challenges of holding a free and fair election.
Illegal arms will be recovered and legal arms will have to be deposited to the authorities concerned before the polls, he said while describing the measures.
The EC will implement the recommendations–which go in line with the constitution and electoral laws–that the majority of eminent citizens and political parties have made in view-exchanging meetings, according to the minister.
Adequate members of law enforcement agencies will be deployed to maintain a normal atmosphere in polling centres and constituencies while executive and judicial magistrates will be appointed to strictly enforce the electoral code of conduct and take legal action against any violators, he said.
The EC will treat all candidates equally, he said, adding that necessary amendments will be made to the Representation of the People Order and also the electoral code of conduct.
The other measures include holding meetings with the heads of various ministries, divisions, departments and law enforcement agencies, which are involved in holding the election, and giving directives so that they carry out their responsibilities sincerely and impartially during the election.
In order to keep the election process transparent, the commission has decided to publish all the activities related to the election on its website for everyone and to invite local and foreign observers.
The EC has decided to provide scopes for electronic and print media to gather information freely, he said.
The law minister said the EC is determined to ensure that the election results are acceptable to all voters and most of the political parties.
The EC will appoint qualified officers from the commission as returning officers and presiding officers.
Besides, it will take action against election officers if there are proofs of their bias, the minister said.