‘Next general election to be free and fair’: Prime Minister 

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Desk report, Oct 15: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday said Awami League wants to see the next general election to be held in a free and fair manner to give democracy an institutional shape.

“We want to see the next election to be held freely and neutrally,” she said.

The Prime Minister, also the chief of the ruling party, said this in her introductory speech at a joint meeting of AL central working committee (ALCWC) and advisory council at her official residence Ganobhaban.

The meeting was arranged to finalise the proposals of Awami League to be placed to the Election Commission in its dialogue with the Commission.

Sheikh Hasina said it is the Awami League that fought for establishing the rights of vote and rice of the country’s people.

“We’re in favour of establishing people’s voting rights as their constitutional and basic rights. We want to assure that people will exercise this right freely, neutrally and without fear,” she said.

Hasina mentioned that if this can be ensured in the country there will be transparency and accountability of all. “And we firmly want that.”

The Prime Minister also said electronic voting machines are being used in many countries of the world. In Bangladesh, she said, those were used on experimental basis. “If this system comes, we want that as well.”

About the present government’s intention to ensure credible elections, Hasina said in various by-elections and local government elections it was proved that people can franchise their rights properly and the government did not interfere in that.

She said BNP candidates have won many local government elections. “In four city corporation elections, for example, all the BNP candidates came out successful. We didn’t restrict the voters, we didn’t change the results, and we didn’t oppress people.”

The Prime Minister said people will choose their candidates freely. “We want to ensure that for strengthening the country’s democratic system.”

The Awami League chief said her party wants to make it sure no one will be able to snatch the basic rights of people in the future as in the past after the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.  “We want to give democracy an institutional shape…that is our aim. To materialise that, Awami League will do whatever is needed.”

Source: UNB