'EC hasn't violated constitution by not holding polls in 90 days
Thursday, 31 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

Two election commissioners on Tuesday claimed the Election Commission had not violated the country's constitution by not holding the general elections within 90 days after the dissolution of the parliament.

'We have not failed and there is no question of violating the constitution in the case of not holding the election within 90 days.

We are rather upholding the constitution,' Muhammed Sohul Hossain told newsmen in his office as the other commissioner, M Sakhawat Hussain, nodded his head in subscribing to Sohul's views.

When their attention was called to a High Court rule that ordered the commission to explain why it failed to hold the elections within 90 days, Sakhawat said, 'We are yet to receive any certified copy of the rule. We will respond to rule.'

Sohul said, 'The whole nation knows why and in which context we had to take the charge of the commission. So everybody should think of the betterment of the country and the people before going to court.' 'Besides, there is another High Court order issued on March 27, 2007 that asked the commission to hold the election only after the completion of a fresh electoral roll.

The court also cancelled the previous electoral roll,' he said. The High Court, however, declared null and void only the electoral roll published before the suspended January 22 elections.

Referring to the growing doubt about holding the elections, Sakhawat said, 'The commission will be able to hold the elections in line with the announced roadmap.'

Asked when the elections to upazila parishads will be held as the council of advisers has already empowered the commission to announce the date for the upazila parishad elections, Sakhawat said, 'We will hold upazila elections, but we are yet to decide on the date.

It can be either before or simultaneously with the national polls.' He said, 'It will for certain not go beyond the national elections.'

As for holding the dialogue with the BNP, he said, 'The dialogue is not necessary to finalise our electoral reforms.' He said, 'The commission is waiting for the court ruling.'

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