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Next election won’t be acceptable without BNP: Ex-CEC Nurul Huda

Former chief election commission KM Nurul Huda has said the next general election will not be acceptable without the participation of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as it is one of the major political parties in the country.

“BNP is a major political party. A free, fair and participatory election can’t be expected keeping the BNP outside the poll process. So, the BNP must be drawn to election, and the government should take this responsibility. I also request the BNP saying that the problems will never be resolved boycotting the election. You decide how to join the elections. I urge you to take part in the election,” Nurul Huda said while speaking as the chief guest at a shadow parliamentary debating competition organised by Debate for Democracy at Film Development Corporation (FDC) auditorium in the capital on Saturday (June 4) morning.

Nurul Huda said elections must be a competitive one. Fair elections are not possible without political consensus.

“Election is a very sensitive and challenging issue,” he said, adding that it is not possible for the Election Commission alone to hold a free and fair election. All stakeholders concerned including the political parties and the administration must extend full support and cooperation to the Election Commission to hold elections in fair, fair and credible manner.

Mentioning that holding elections under a party government is somewhat challenging, Nurul Huda said it could be overcome if the EC wanted it.

The former CEC also suggested that EC officials be assigned as returning officers, instead of deputy commissioners (DCs).

“There was no invisible pressure on me during my tenure in the Election Commission. However, cent percent voter turnout in some centres was uncomfortable. I have full confidence in the current Election Commission,” said.

He said, “EVMs cannot be manipulated. However, EVM machines can be made more up-to-date. EVMs should be used in the next 20 years of elections in Bangladesh. Installing CCTV cameras in the polling booths will increase voters confidence in EVMs.”

Speaking at the programme, Debate for Democracy chairman Hasan Ahmed Chowdhury Kiron said the only way to hand over power in a democratic society is through fair, acceptable, and participatory elections.