August 15, 2022, 9:03 am

Staff Correspondent

2022-02-28 09:00:56 BdST

New CEC ‘not afraid of challenges’, calls for cooperation

New Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal has said he is not afraid of challenges and called for the cooperation of all to tackle them head-on.

“Man’s life is a challenge, so is an election. But we must not be afraid of any challenges. We must tackle those,” Awal told reporters after he and the four new election commissioners took the oath of office on Sunday.   

A former secretary, Awal expressed confidence in his colleagues and said he will take decisions on consensus.

He said they will lay out a strategy after identifying the challenges and taking opinions from the stakeholders.

“The Election Commission does not hold the polls alone. Elections are a huge task. Many are involved in it. All must cooperate and the commission will work to make sure they cooperate.”

Regaining the trust of all sides by holding free and fair elections, including the next parliamentary polls, is being seen as a big challenge facing the new Election Commission in the current political climate.

Not all the parties contested in the 2014 parliamentary election held by the Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad-led commission as they objected to the Awami League retaining power during the polls.

They joined the last national election under the KM Nurul Huda-led EC, but the BNP and its allies alleged vote-rigging and intimidation.

This time the BNP has renewed its demand that the parliamentary election be held with a non-partisan government in power. The party did not join talks to form the new commission and refrained from proposing names.

After his appointment on Saturday, Awal said the Election Commission cannot take full responsibility for ensuring a fair election, warning that a lack of support from the political parties might lead to an “image crisis”.

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