Election time government should have no interest to influence the outcome of the polls, said Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) Distinguished Fellow and former Bangladesh Ambassador to WTO, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya.
"I feel the election-time government should have no special interest to influence the results of the election. If the poll-time government has that kind of interest, the election commission cannot function properly" Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya said after attending a dialogue of eminent citizens from the civil society with the Election Commission on Tuesday (22 March).
He also added that laws have to be enforced so that honest and deserving candidates may win.
"Everyone knows what is needs to be done to ensure a fair and nonpartisan election in Bangladesh. We repeated those today during the meeting," he said.
"Voting rights of women, religious minorities, and those living in remote areas have to be ensured," Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya added.
"Previous election commission asked us what should be done following the last two elections, we had advised them to work to bring back's people's trust in the EC. That is your challenge," he further said, adding that "there has to be an agreement from all regarding EVMs".
"Election time government has to accept the people's will," he said.
The dialogue of the Election Commission on Tuesday was attended by only a few eminent citizens from the civil society. Fifteen out of the 39 invited citizens attended the dialogue.
Among those present at the dialogue are – Debapriya Bhattacharya, Mostafizur Rahman, Zafrullah Chowdhury, Khushi Kabir, Sanjib Drong, Rubaiyat Ferdous, Ali Imam Majumdar, Abdul Latif Mondol, Mohiuddin Ahmed, Sinha M Said, Prof Nazrul Islam, Faras Uddin, Abu Alam Shahid Khan, Iftekharuzzaman and Shaheen Anam.
Earlier on 13 March, the Election Commission held a dialogue with academics. That dialogue was also attended by only 13 people out of 30 invitees.
The Election Commission will prepare a roadmap for the forthcoming 12th parliamentary election utilising the outcome of the series of dialogue with stakeholders.
On 26 February, President Abdul Hamid appointed the EC headed by Kazi Habibul Awal. The commission took the oath on 27 February and joined the office the following day.