The ruling Awami League has proposed the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in all 300 seats in the upcoming 12th national polls while the main opposition in the house Jatiya Party has opposed the notion and suggested sticking to the traditional paper ballots.
"We believe there is no alternative to EVM to prevent vote rigging. So, we want EVM in all 300 seats," Obaidul Quader, general secretary of the Awami League, said during his party's dialogue with the Election Commission (EC) at the EC headquarters in the capital yesterday.
In their dialogue with the EC, Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu said, "We are not confident in the EVM voting process. Personally, I do not have faith in it. Besides, people think if the votes are changed in EVMs, there is nothing anyone can do because the results cannot be rechecked."
He added that using EVM without people's support for it will not be a logical decision.
Sayed Abu Hossain Babla, Jatiya Party presidium member, said, "EVM is a critical process and many countries have scrapped its use."
Of the 28 political parties that took part in talks with the EC, 11 were in favour of EVMs while eight were against it. Three parties said they want EVM voting in half the seats and six parties chose to float no opinion on the matter.
Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal said, "There is a crisis over the use of EVMs as there is no consensus on using it. The commission is yet to decide on it."
During talks with the ruling party, the CEC said, "We want to stay above criticism and controversy by holding a free, fair and acceptable elections."
Most political parties that proposed EVM use also demanded to gain the confidence of voters in EVMs before the polls.
Among other proposals, some parties have called for an interim or caretaker government and a non-party or all-party government. Some parties proposed dissolving the parliament after the announcement of the polls schedule.
Besides, it was proposed to conduct the election on a phase-by-phase basis. Apart from this, the parties made around 300 proposals including bringing various ministries under the EC during the polls, introducing "no vote" and the use of CCTV cameras at the voting centres.
Nine parties boycott EC talks
The Election Commission started a series of dialogues with the 39 political parties registered with the EC from 17 July to determine the procedure for the 12th parliamentary elections.
A total of nine parties, including the BNP boycotted the talks, which ended yesterday.
Two other parties requested to change the timing of the dialogue which the EC could not do.
The CEC said in the dialogue that the commission will hold a meeting among themselves on the proposals given by the parties. Later they will publish all the proposals in a book.
He added that the EC will also point out which proposals they will end up adopting.