Mentioning that the absence of the opposition in polling stations has made the elections to the two city corporations questionable, Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar on Tuesday said the reform of the election process and a change in the election management are a must.
He made the remarks in a statement in the afternoon.
The election commissioner also described the ‘unusually’ low voter turnout in the recent elections to the two city corporations as an ‘ominous’ sign for democracy. “The unusual low voter turnout in the city corporation polls seemed normal to me. This can be an ominous sign for democracy but this is the reality.”
Elections to the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) were held on February 1 with a 29.002 percent voter turnout in the DSCC while 25.30 percent in the DNCC.
This real scenario cannot be justified through various explanations or misinterpretations if people become reluctant about election or voting, the election commissioner said.
“Some wise persons said there’s a need of authoritarian rule to protect democracy. However, democracy can flourish in its own quality if it’s not enchained in an unwanted manner,” he said.
Mahbub Talukdar said the natural process of power handover gets closed if the election system fails which is not desirable at all.
“At this critical moment of the country, political parties can ensure the future of the election and democracy on the table of discussion,” Talukdar said. Or else, Bangladesh will step towards an unknown destination, he added.
The election commissioner said the way the electoral code of conduct was violated during electioneering, it is the same to keep those provisions or not.
He also said no step was taken to investigate the allegations of the violation of the electoral code of conduct. “Not obeying the code of conduct and not taking any step in this regard are the main element of the free-style election.”