6 September 2018, Thu, 10:02

Shujan wants EC reformed, questions EVM use in election

The government must reform the Election Commission before the country goes to the polls in December due to the recent “unfair” city corporation ballots, a leading civil society platform has said.

Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) Secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar made the call during a media briefing on the outcomes of the city polls at the Dhaka Reporters Unity offices on Wednesday.

“The Election Commission could not arrange fair elections to the Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal and Khulna city corporations,” he said.

“Those polls were controlled by the government. The commission could not arrange free and fair elections in these cities, so it should be reformed.”

The Shujan secretary described the city polls as “harbingers of irregularities” for the national election. 

“The Election Commission must be bold and make a unified plan to ensure a fair election. The government must help with that,” he said.

Badiul also questioned the possible use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the 11th parliamentary election, which is slated for the last week of December.

The commission has announced that it plans to use EVMs in 100 out of 300 constituencies nationwide.

“Most people are not comfortable using the machines to exercise their franchise (and) need to be taught how to use them,” he said.

“They do not know much about using EVMs (and) are wondering why the government is suddenly buying about 150,000 EVMs in a hurry.”

Shujan leaders suggested that the commission should take opinions from all stakeholders, including the government, political parties, officials of the commission and law enforcement agencies, mass media and civil society, to come up with a “coordinated plan” for the polls.