Dhaka – Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of Bangladesh KM Nurul Huda on Tuesday reiterated that they will not go for the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the next general election if political parties oppose that.
“We won’t go for the EVMs if the political parties don’t want that. We won’t try to impose it. But, we’ll place the EVM process before them,” the CEC told a press briefing at Nirbachon Bhaban in the city.
The CEC said the EVM issue was not included in the draft roadmap either, and the commission will take its decision on the issue in consultation with political parties.
“If political parties have no confidence in it and they don’t accept it, we’ll not go for it… We won’t take risk. It’s a clear message. There’s no doubt or controversy here,” he said.
He said the Election Commission (EC) will start dialogues with registered political parties and other stakeholders in July next and complete the talks in November next to receive their opinions about different issues, including EVMs, reform of electoral laws and delimitation of constituencies.
“We want to start dialogues with political parties in mid or late July (next). The dialogue will be held in one phase. We’ll invite them to discuss the roadmap. It’ll continue till November next,” Huda said.
He said the commission will also sit with civil society members, and also with journalists, if possible.
About the national election roadmap, the CEC said, “It’ll take another 15-20 days to finalise it. The commission has given priority to seven issues in the roadmap.”
The issues are electoral law reform, making electoral process time-befitting one, delimitation of constituencies, updating the voter list, preparing the list of possible polling stations, giving registration to new political parties and capacity building of officials for conducting the national election.
With the CEC in the chair, the Commission had a meeting from 11am to 5pm on Tuesday to finalise the 11th national election roadmap drafted by its officials.
The CEC told reporters around 2pm that the Commission would finalise the draft roadmap on Tuesday, but failed.
A BNP delegation on Monday last submitted a letter to the CEC urging him not to use EVMs in parliamentary elections.
Earlier on May 11, CEC Nurul Huda said the EVM will be used in the next parliamentary polls if all the political parties unanimously accept it.
Some 3 lakh machines will be required for holding the election based entirely on EVMs.
The Election Commission led by Dr ATM Shamsul Huda first used EVMs on pilot basis in a few polling stations in Chittagong City Corporation polls held in 2010. Later, the EVMs were used in different local body elections.
In January, 2011, Comilla City Corporation election was fully held with EVMs.
In 2012, the Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad-led Commission decided not to use EVMs in elections due to strong oppositions by BNP and some other political parties.