Law ministry

The Ministry of Justice dwells on the response to the EC

The government is slow to respond to the Electoral Commission’s proposal to amend the Representation of the People Ordinance 1972 for the use of electronic voting machines at the next general election.

“The Electoral Commission has written to the Ministry of Justice to inquire about the status of the proposal. The ministry, however, has yet to respond in this regard,” reads a press release from the EC signed by its co-secretary SM Asaduzzaman.

He said the commission sent a draft law to the ministry for necessary actions on August 8 and also sent some other recommendations for the amendment on October 4, but to no avail.

“The commission sent a letter to the ministry on September 28, asking the latter to update it on the progress of the amendment, but it did not respond. As the matter is important, the commission sent another letter today (Monday),” the statement read.

On August 23, the electoral commission decided to use electronic voting machines instead of traditional ballots in up to 150 out of 300 constituencies in the next polls likely to be held at the end of 2023.

The decision received strong opposition from the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party and its allies who did not join talks with the Chief Election Commissioner which continued throughout the month of July.

The ruling Awami League, however, welcomed the Electoral Commission’s decision to use EVMs in the upcoming elections.

The EC invited political parties to get their views on how the elections could be conducted in a fair manner, and 28 political parties attended the meeting where most of them opposed the idea of ​​using the EVM.

Fourteen of the 28 parties, including the Jatiya party, opposed the use of EVM in the elections while seven parties, including the ruling Awami League, supported it.

Nine other parties, including the Bangladesh Nationalist Party which boycotted the dialogue, also continued to oppose the use of EVM.

If the EC disregards the views of most political parties, its earlier discussions with political parties would become superfluous, observers say.

On September 19, the EC approved a project involving Tk 8,711 crore to procure EVMs for use in 150 out of 300 parliamentary constituencies in the upcoming general elections.