From the Editor-in-Chief: On the search . . . for a new EC

Enayetullah Khan
Wednesday, February 1st, 2017
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The six-member search committee entrusted with the task of suggesting names for the office of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners at the new EC has already begun working. It has been meeting prominent citizens and has been in touch with the political parties regarding their suggestions about the constitution of the next Election Commission. President Abdul Hamid has made a move that should lead to the formation of a credible and therefore acceptable Election Commission ready to supervise the general election slated for early 2019 in a purposeful manner. All six members of the search committee are individuals respected in society for their intellect and political integrity and will, one hopes, go forward with their suggestions as to who could be the individuals who can advance the cause of democracy in the days ahead. The President has clearly had a difficult task to carry out. But his task has not yet come to an end.


A worrying aspect of the current situation is the BNP’s initial reaction to the formation of the search committee. The party is unhappy about the six individuals on the committee, clearly out of a feeling that they are aligned somehow with the ruling party. That is poor judgment. If individuals known for their liberal views and clear perspectives on national issues are undermined by politicians whose understanding of politics in the past has been poor to say the least, one can hardly do anything to accommodate their views. The six members of the search committee are people for whom the national interest is above everything and in whose comprehension of socio-political realities nothing of the partisan has ever been noticed. It would have been prudent, therefore, for the BNP to be a little more circumspect.


The search committee has an onerous responsibility to carry out.  Considering the political realities of the country, it will be an unenviable job for the members of the search committee. Even so, it is our expectation that these six respected people will measure up to the trust reposed in them and will leave behind for the country a legacy we can truly be proud of.


The fundamental need today is a strengthening of the institutions of the State. On that principle, a powerful, independent and assertive Election Commission can reassure citizens that it can preside over elections with credibility. It is on a guarantee of transparent, accountable and credible elections that the future of democracy depends. We will wait to see how it all turns out.

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