Election Working Group for level-playing field in city polls

Election Working Group (EWG), a 29-member coalition of civil society organisations, on Monday urged the Election Commission to ensure a level-playing field for the candidates contesting the upcoming elections to the three city corporations of Dhaka and Chittagong.
“EWG welcomes all forms of elections as it is indispensable in democracy. But an acceptable and peaceful election has to be held under the present political situation,” said EWG director Dr Abdul Alim. The group members told journalists that after the last Parliamentary elections and the Upazila elections of last year people’s confidence in the electoral set-up has eroded. The first task was thus to restore the confidence, they said.He made the remarks while addressing a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
In a written statement, Abdul Alim said the Election Commission has to take massive security measures so that the contesting candidates as well as voters feel safe. “Equal opportunities will have to be ensured for all the candidates,” he added.
The EWG demanded a ban on giving nomination of the candidates by political parties in the city corporation election as it is a local government body polls. It also urged the Election Commission to effectively implement electoral regulations binding on the candidates.
They made an 11-point recommendation, including the compulsory presence of the polling agents at the poling centres. Kamrul Hasan, Binoy Krishna Mollick and Haunur Raashid.
Present at the conference were Talia Rahman of Democracy Watch, Dr. Nazmul Ahsan kalimullah of Janipop, HM Nouman of Dorp,
A total of 48 observers will work in Dhaka city on a long-term basis while some 1000 EWG observers will monitor the polls in the Dhaka South and Dhaka North City Corporations on the election day. 700 observers will be at work in the Chittagong City Corporation. The polls are slated for April 28. – News Desk