Kapasia by-polls fundamentally flawed, low turnout but peaceful: Fema
‘It is flawed as the election did not fully comply with international standards for democratic elections as well as the national election laws,” said the non-government election monitoring organisation
Monday October 01 2012 09:41:59 AM BDT
Dhaka, Sept 30 (UNB) - The Gazipur- 4 by-election was fundamentally flawed but peaceful and well administered, Fema (Free Election Movement Association) said on Sunday in its observation note.
It is flawed as the election did not fully comply with international standards for democratic elections as well as the national election laws,” said the non-government election monitoring organisation.
However, the election was generally peaceful with massive presence of security personnel, and well administered as the Election Commission (EC) deployed some of its highly experienced officials to administer the by-election which was marked by a very low turnout of voters compared to the previous ones.
The by-election breached globally accepted standards for democratic elections as it is not fully participatory. The opposition parties including the main opposition party stayed away from the polls making the election non-competitive. This “not-fully-participatory” election and deprived the voters of Kapasia of a wider choice of candidates and parties to choose from, it said.
The election did not fully comply with the national election laws as Article 90B (b) (iv) of the RPO states that the political party has “to finalise nomination of candidate by central parliamentary board of the party from the panels prepared by the members of the Ward, Union, Thana, Upazila or District committee, as the case may be, of concerned constituency”.
The EC did not enforce this law in connection with nomination of the two political parties - Awami League (AL) and Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) - nominated candidates in the by-election which calls the candidacy of the political party nominated candidates into question.
According to the Fema observation voter turnout ranged between 5 to 20% at 12 noon in different polling stations. The observers of the organisation saw no queue of waiting voters at the polling stations except in a couple of cases where less than 10 voters were seen waiting to cast their vote.
The absence of opposition’s participation and the fact that none of the three candidates reside in the constituency are likely reasons for the low level of enthusiasm and low turnout of voters.
The election-day was mainly peaceful. Large numbers of security personnel were present in the polling stations and in the constituency. No incidents of violence or clashes were observed on the election-day.
The election was generally well administered at the field level. The polling stations Fema observers visited were located in neutral locations.
The polling officials were present. Required election materials were available at the polling stations. Polling agents of all candidates were not present in all the polling stations Fema observed. Polling agent of only AL candidate was seen in all polling booths.