Vol. 5 Num 1141 Tue. August 14, 2007  
Front Page

Reform Dialogue
EC hopes govt will lift or relax ban on politics

The Election Commission (EC hopes the ban on indoor politics will be withdrawn or relaxed this month allowing it to hold dialogue on electoral reforms with political parties from next month according to its roadmap.

The EC is already preparing for talks with the parties to implement the roadmap it announced on July 15.

A source close to the EC yesterday said, "The Election Commission believes the government will create a scope for holding talks with the parties either by lifting the ban on indoor politics or relaxing it."

"There are seventeen days to September. Wait and see," Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda said yesterday as reporters drew his attention to Awami League acting president's remark that his party would not take part in any dialogue with the EC until the ban on indoor politics is lifted.

Huda recently said the EC finalised the polls plans in consultation with the chief adviser.

Talking to reporters at his office yesterday, Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain said the EC will certainly hold dialogue with political parties in time.

Asked if the ban on indoor politics would be lifted before September, he said September is still far away. "Wait and see."

The election commissioner explained some provisions of the electoral rolls ordinance 2007.

On the provision empowering the EC to prepare voter list without photographs in a particular constituency or area, he said it is intended to meet any exigencies for preparing the electoral rolls.

"In case of any emergency, we will formulate rules for preparing the voter list without photographs by using this power," Sohul said.

Replying to a query if one will be registered as voter if he or she refuses to have his or her photograph taken for the voter list, he said the EC would examine the number of such prospective voters.

"We will have to think whether they can be registered as voters by formulating rules under the electoral rolls ordinance," he said.

Sohul, who earlier visited Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) area and Comilla Municipality area, said people are visiting the voter registration centres to have their photographs and fingerprints taken for getting listed as voters.

"The state of emergency is not affecting the voter listing task," he said.