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TIB for level playing field in the next JS poll, urges strict implementation of electoral laws

TIB identified a number of challenges for the Election Commission (EC) – the apex state institution responsible for organizing a fair and impartial Jatio Sangsad (JS) poll. These challenges include; influence of the parliamentarians in case JS exists, controversial reshuffle and promotions, assigning deputy commissioners as returning officers, law and order management during election, influence of black money and muscle power etc. TIB earlier conducted a study titled “Effective Election Commission: progresses, challenges and way forward” which was released to the media at a press briefing on 29th September at the BRAC Centre Inn Auditorium.

Mr Shahazada Md Akram, Senior Programme Manager (Research and Policy) of TIB presented the findings of the study. Dr Iftekharuzzaman, Executive Director; Dr Sumaiya Khair, Deputy Executive Director; Mr Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan, Director (Research & Policy) were also present. The study noted that bringing of EC secretariat under commission’s control and economic freedom of the commission were two major indicators of institutional successes. Other successes include unified human resource management, organisation of maximum number of elections in free and fair manner, use of technology, disclosure of information and engagement of stakeholders. Analysing the limitations and challenges, TIB tabled 13 recommendations to make the EC effective. Key recommendations include deployment of EC’s own officials as returning officers; mandatory provision of taking EC’s consent for any kind of deployment or reshuffling in key ministries; amendment of electoral laws in the light of the constitution; and disclosure of information related to voter list, annual financial report of political parties, financial documents including budget and electoral cases.