Dhaka, Bangladesh
All parties must contest elections to prevent irregularities: CEC

All parties must contest elections to prevent irregularities: CEC

It will be possible to prevent irregularities in the 11th parliamentary elections if all parties contest the polls, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda has said. Speaking to bdnews24.com on Friday, Huda, however, stuck to his previous comment that it is impossible to make sure major elections are absolutely free from irregularities in Bangladesh's current context. "It will be a lie if I say that there won't be any irregularity in major elections like the parliamentary polls with around 300,000 voting rooms at 40,000 centres," he told bdnews24.com over the phone. "I am talking about reality. I can't guarantee that there won't be any irregularity," he added. The Election Commission led by Huda is scheduled to organise the next general election between Oct 30 this year and Jan 28 next year. The schedule is likely to be announced in the beginning of November, Huda said. The commission expects all the parties will contest in the polls, but it will not initiate any dialogue before the vote, the CEC reiterated. "No-one gets the chance to do irregularities in elections full of contest," he said. Huda thinks strong contestants would prevent irregularities themselves. "There was no irregularity in the city elections in which contest was intense. But there were attempts to create irregularities where there was no strong rivalry," he said. "I hope the parliamentary elections will be full of contest." After taking charge in February last year, the Huda-led EC earned praises for the elections to Cumilla and Rangpur city corporations. The EC faced criticism for allegations of irregularities in recent Khulna, Gazipur, Barishal and Sylhet city corporation polls. Huda faced questions over the fairness of the next general election on Tuesday as the EC was criticised for irregularities in recent elections. "It can't be said with certainty that there won't be any irregularities in major public elections," he had said. His comment was much discussed in the political circles. The ruling Awami League also questioned the CEC's remarks. General Secretary Obaidul Quader urged him to speak with 'caution'. Election commissioners said they do not share Huda's view in this regard, which they think was his personal, not the Election Commission's. Criticism is everyone's democratic right, the CEC said in reaction to Quader's comment. There was no reason for the people to worry about his comment on irregularities in major elections, he said. "There will be law enforcers after the schedule is announced. We'll take all necessary steps to control any situation," he added.

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