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Search Committee has no magic formula

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By MAINUL HOSEIN
30th-Jan-2017       
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Like the last time the President Abdul Hamid has formed a Search Committee. The six-member Search Committee so constituted has started consultations for suggesting names to be appointed by the President as the Chief Election Commissioner and members of the Election Commission.

The incumbent Election Commission so constituted with the recommendation of such a Search Committee symbolised itself as disastrous for holding free and fair elections, national or local.

On the face it the exercise looks very fair and transparent. The BNP as the largest opposition party expressed reservations about the impartiality  of the Search Committee. But still it will wait and see. Whether BNP has justification or not owing to the contentious nature of our politics the Search Committee was sure to come under criticism.

But at the same time we have to say that the members of the Search Committee should have known how futile their hard work will be for holding the election free and fair with the incumbent government in power fighting to win and to continue in power. The precedent of the past should have been enough to know the Election Commission has no chance of being free or strong against the government. The truth is, the government itself will be the Election Commission to decide the election results and not the voters or the Election Commission.

No matter how hard the Search Committee tries the Election Commission will also be disputed. BNP knows it is in a desperate dilemma yet it does not know how to handle the critical situation.

The crisis the nation is facing is the crisis of political leadership for solving political problems. Our political problem must deepen than the election, destroying democracy.

Decent and competent people are most reluctant to be associated to be helpful to resolve the political crisis for fear of ungrateful and unrestrained foul remarks that come inevitably from one political party or  the other. To them winning the election is everything with or without any election. Decency or honesty is not a consideration in our party politics.

But what to do? The country belongs to all of us and we must have our votes counted. And we all want to live in peace and save ourselves from political violence.

What is not politically understood is that the political or constitutional arrangement for free election has been politically destroyed by politicians. A disputed parliament was used to change the Constitution unilaterally despite serious opposition from the constitutional experts and civil society.

All party parliamentary committee also opined in favour of retaining the election time non-party caretaker government.

Three judges of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court out of seven vehemently disagreed with majority judgement declaring the arrangement of unelected caretaker government as unconstitutional.

The largest opposition party BNP fought tooth and nail opposing replacement of the caretaker government system established on the basis of political consensus.

It was Awami League that first challenged position of the "elected government" to preside over the election when BNP was in power for holding election under it.

Awami League found no contradictions in introducing the amendment to the Constitution to remain in power while holding the election.

A strange new change was also added to make the illogical arrangement more illogical. The Parliament is not to be prorogued for declaring the seats of the Parliament vacant for fresh election.

There cannot be an elected government in power during the election when Parliament stands dissolved under the Parliamentary System everywhere. Even a schoolboy will understand it.

On a totally confused premise the Supreme Court held that the election will be proceeded under the elected government. Election time is not the time for deciding the basic structure of the government. It is the time for ensuring free and fair election in the best possible way.

The problem created for holding free and fair elections by the politicians cannot be solved without cooperation among the politicians. But politicians are not bothered. The opposition criticises Search Committee and later it will be found criticising the formation of Election Commission too.

Yet, our politicians cannot think politically for solving the political problem of holding the next national election free and fair.

It is because our politics is not a battle of ideas but battle for power and enjoyment of state benefits that go with it.

It is most unrealistic to have high expectation from the Search Committee that it will have a magic formula to form the Election Commission powerful and independent as against the powerful and strong government competing to win the election.

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