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Call for sustainable reforms to electoral process

Staff Correspondent

Guests attend a seminar on the recent parliament elections organised by the Youth Movement for Democracy at the BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo
Guests attend a seminar on the recent parliament elections organised by the Youth Movement for Democracy at the BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka on Friday. — New Age photo

A cross section of people at a discussion on Friday stressed the need for sustainable reforms to the electoral process to avoid the recurrence of election-time violence and political crisis and the holding of elections without the presence of voters.
They made the observations in a discussion on electoral reforms organised by the Youth Movement for Democracy.
They said that the January 5 elections had failed to get acceptance from none in the world but a neighbouring country.
They were of the opinion that the 10th parliament, formed through the  elections, should take steps to amend the constitution to pave the way for the holding of elections that could be acceptable to all.
Freedom fighter Zafrullah Chowdhury, one of the founders of Ganashasthaya Kendra, said that after the 15th amendment, it seemed that there was no alternative to throwing out this constitution.
Supreme Court lawyer Tuhin Malik and Dhaka University law teacher Borhanuddin Khan also echoed him saying that the 15th amendment should be dropped.
Borhanuddin Khan said that the amendment provisioned for the violation of the constitution as punishable with capital punishment but the Awami League government continued to violate it and there had been no action.
He was of the opinion that as there was no actual opposition in this parliament, Article 70 too should be dropped.
Former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain said that the past election commission had tried to reform the process by incorporating some measures including option for ‘no’ vote and making it mandatory for an individual to be member of any party for at least three years but the next government had dropped the provisions and nobody even bothered to challenge them.
He said that the caretaker government was not necessary but the rules of business should be changed for the election time to ensure neural polls.
The Amadershomoy.com editor, Nayeemul Islam Khan, proposed the formation of an all-party forum to work out reforms proposals for a sustained solution. He also said that the notion of the caretaker government inspired an anti-incumbency trend which was against creating a level playing field.
Vocalist Asif Akbar said that there was no scope for him to arrange a concert as he belonged to the opposition BNP. He also criticised BNP leaders for keeping the party chief isolated from grass roots.
Journalist Mahfuzullah presented a keynote paper in the discussion that the Youth Movement for Democracy convener, Shama Obaed, presided over.
Former Awami League lawmaker Golam Mawla Rony, Amar Desh publications director Shakil Wahed, entrepreneur Mostafa Rafiqul Islam and  former national hockey squad member Ariful Huq Prince also spoke at the programme Kazi Jesin moderated.

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