Hoping for free and fair elections | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, July 16, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:42 PM, July 16, 2018


Hoping for free and fair elections

Another chance for EC to establish credibility

With three city corporation elections coming up, we hope the Election Commission and other authorities will take all the necessary steps to ensure free and fair elections in Rajshai, Sylhet and Barisal. In any democracy, elections are about more than just what happens on the day of polling, therefore, we would like to reemphasise the importance of allowing all political parties and candidates the right to hold rallies and electioneer without harassment or intimidation.

That, unfortunately, was not the case in the most recent elections, including the ones in Gazipur and Khulna, which were both marred by various electoral anomalies. The harassment and arrest of opposition party candidates and activists just prior to those elections that we saw were disappointing and did not bode well for our democracy. Similar allegations have again started to surface this time too, raising questions about the EC's ability to hold free and fair elections. With parliamentary elections just around the corner, the upcoming city corporation elections will provide the EC another chance to establish its credibility to voters—which it should make the most of.

Despite the many promises, we are yet to see adequate political space accorded to the opposition that should be made available to all in any democracy. And this has been made even more evident by the repeated number of times that the opposition has been refused the chance to hold rallies by various government agencies, under one pretext or another.

We hope that there will be a significant change in the scenario ahead of the upcoming elections, and that the polls will be free and fair, so that voters can feel confident before the general election that their right to choose their own representatives will be respected.

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