AL won’t budge on polls under incumbents

During its dialogue with the Election Commission today, the ruling Awami League is going to place an 11-point proposal, including following the constitutional provision under which the incumbent prime minister would remain the head of the polls-time government.

The AL would also propose to keep army as a striking force during the elections, update the voter list and not allow any private or NGO official to get appointed as presiding officer, said party insiders.

Most of the 11 proposals are going to be totally opposite from those by the party’s arch-rival BNP, they said.

During its dialogue with the commission on Sunday, the BNP placed a set of proposals, including dissolution of parliament and a polls-time ‘supportive government’ to oversee the next parliamentary election.

During the two-and-a-half hour electoral talks, the party also demanded that armed forces personnel be deployed during the election and be provided with magistracy power.

Today, the AL would take a stand against fresh demarcation of the constituencies and army deployment.

AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader would lead a 22-member party team to today’s talks, beginning at 11:00am, at Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital.

Earlier on January 11, the party had placed another 11-point proposal during its dialogue with President Abdul Hamid on the formation of a new EC.

The BNP has demanded restoration of the boundaries of parliamentary constituencies drawn before the 2008 election. Whereas, the AL is going to convey its opposition to the EC against fresh demarcation, as the party secured a landslide victory with the existing one in that election.

According to AL sources, the party would pitch for e-voting. If it is not possible to ensure the system across the country, the party will request the commission to have the system introduced in some particular constituencies which are in city corporation areas.

The BNP is against introduction of e-voting and electronic voting machines (EVMs). The party fears the election results would be manipulated through the system.

The ruling party is going to propose unified posters during the polls. For example, each poster would carry the names, photos and party symbols of all the candidates in a constituency in an alphabetical order.

During the talks, the AL delegation would also like to propose that the election-time government would not only carry out the routine work but would also extend its full support to the EC for holding a free and fair poll, the sources said.

The party is also going to take a stand against “no vote” although most civil society members during their talks with the commission on July 30 advocated for having the system. The provision was introduced by the caretaker government before the 2008 elections, but it was scrapped in 2009.

The party may also request the EC to update the voter list and propose for a stronger Election Commission so that it can hold a free, fair and credible election.

Again, the party would propose to amend the loopholes in the Representation of the People Order (RPO), not to allow any partisan and controversial persons to become election observers and include expatriates in the voter list.

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