ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
Bangladesh Election Commission says no to ruling party
Publication Date : 25-12-2013
The Election Commission has rejected the ruling Awami League's demand to stop publishing the eight-point information including wealth statements of the contestants in parliamentary polls.
In a statement yesterday, the EC said it is legally bound to make the particulars public.
"So, the commission has not made any effort to find out any legal loopholes to stop making the information public," said the statement signed by SM Asaduzzaman, the EC's public relations director.
The EC dismissed press reports that it was trying to hide the candidates' particulars in line with the AL's demand, and said it did not make any effort in this regard.
Embarrassed by the revelation that many AL candidates have amassed huge wealth in the last five years, a delegation of the ruling party led by former home minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir on Sunday met the chief election commissioner (CEC) and asked for stopping publication of the candidates' particulars on the commission's website.
Contacted, Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz said yesterday, “It is not possible to stop making these information public because there is a
court directive to do so.”The Supreme Court in a landmark verdict in 2007 asked the EC to collect wealth statements of candidates and make those public so that voters could know about the candidates in their constituencies.
The EC later incorporated a provision in the Representation of the People Order (RPO), the legal framework for conducting parliamentary polls, to ensure implementation the apex court's order.
In its statement yesterday, the EC said the information about contestants is being made public from the office of returning officers locally and through the EC's official website centrally. "This practice has been continuing since the ninth national election in 2008."
"Everyone can see the information about candidates on the website," said the statement, adding that the commission has not stepped back from its practice.
The EC also urged all not to publish any "confusing" reports on this matter.
Meanwhile, EC website yesterday developed "technical trouble" that lasted several hours. It gave rise to allegations that the commission was trying to hide the information about candidates.
But EC's System Manager Rafiqul Islam said, the webpage faced technical trouble because many people browsed the site at a time. There was no other reason behind this.
Contacted, an AL leader said the party high-ups have denounced that the CEC informed the media what the party had asked for.
And AL Joint General Secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif yesterday urged the EC to arrange round-the -clock security for him during the election period.
“My constituency is infamous for outlaws and BNP-Jamaat cadres may attack me during polls campaign,” Hanif told this correspondent.
Besides, Bortee, a non-government organisation and election observer, yesterday informed the CEC that it would deploy observers in the election, Sharmin Murshid, chief executive of the organisation told reporters.