Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CA pledges to hold Elections at the earliest

EC to be reconstituted, flawless electoral roll to be prepared

Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed pledged to transfer power to an elected government at the earliest through holding a free, fair and credible general election after reconstituting the Election Commission (EC) and preparing a flawless electoral roll in his maiden address to the nation over radio and television. Fakhruddin, who assumed office on January 12 to head a reconstituted caretaker government, said the main task of his government is to hold a free, fair, peaceful and neutral election with participation of all parties in accordance with the constitution and people's aspiration.

Regarding demands for voter ID cards and transparent ballot boxes, he said necessary steps would be taken in this respect after examining the matters. He added that appropriate steps would be taken to ensure the statement of assets and sources of income of intending election candidates and prove the authenticity of their statements.Fakhruddin however stopped short of mentioning any timeframe for the parliamentary elections --earlier set for January 22.

Although the much-awaited address to the nation delivered by the chief adviser to the interim government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, dwelt repeatedly on what he termed as the principal responsibility of the military-backed administration — to deliver a free, fair and participatory election ‘at the earliest’ — the ambitious to-do list that was proposed alongside left little doubt that ‘the earliest’ would come later rather than sooner

Major parties' reaction to CA's Address

BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan urged the interim government to hold the election at the 'earliest possible time'. Giving the four-party's formal reaction to the chief adviser's (CA) speech to the nation, he thanked the CA for promising to hold an election as soon as possible and said people expected a specific timeframe for holding the election as the only task of the caretaker government is to assist the Election Commission and it is the elected government's responsibility to do the long-term things like preparation of voter ID cards.

The Awami League (AL)-led 14-party alliance expressed the hope that the caretaker government (CG) headed by Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed will take measurers to hold a free, fair and credible general election as early as possible by reconstituting the Election Commission (EC). Giving the alliance's formal reaction to the chief adviser's (CA) first address to the nation Sunday night, the AL general secretary said the people hope that the new CG will hand over power to an elected government following a fair and credible election and this will add a new dimension to democracy in the country. The party also demanded the arrest of corrupt people, criminals and their godfathers, illegal arms and black money holders to create a congenial atmosphere for a free and fair poll and build people's confidence in the polls process.