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Bangladesh poll body chief not to resign

The main opposition 14-party alliance has urged the President to dismiss Justice MA Aziz and the two other election commissioners.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 13:27 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner, Justice MA Aziz, has said "no" to widespread demands for his resignation on charges that voter lists were "fake".

The main opposition 14-party alliance has urged the president to dismiss him and the two other election commissioners, saying they were "political appointments", making it a precondition to their participation in parliamentary elections later this year.

The opposition outcry was fuelled by Law Minister Moudud Ahmed, who told a TV channel that a section of voters in his parliamentary constituency had been registered at three different places.

The stipulated time for receiving objections about any anomalies regarding the enlistment of eligible voters expired Saturday, with "a huge number of fake voters enlisted and thousands of would-be voters still left out", Bangladesh Today web site said.

Several hundred residents staged a demonstration and besieged the office of an Assistant Registration Officer (ARO) at a local school.

Locals alleged that they were not included in the draft voters' list and many names without any specific address were enlisted. They are now demanding the cancellation of that list.

On Sunday, the High Court directed the Election Commission to explain why its orders directing the ARO at Mohammadpur to include 900 "fake" names in the voter list should not be declared unlawful.

Asked about the possibility of his resignation, Aziz replied with an emphatic "no".

He, however, admitted the allegation of irregularities in the draft list and said: "The commission has received 26 objections directly and 22 objections through the media and the revising authorities will dispose of those objections on June 6".

"The anomalies in this list are not abnormal, as the commission does not have its own manpower; however there is still scope to amend and correct the voters list until polls", clarified Aziz.

At the same time, he defended the sharp rise in the number of voters in the draft list. "The rise in the number of voters was 33.69 percent in the list prepared in 2000, while this year, the rise is 22.4 per cent," he explained.

First Published: May 22, 2006 13:27 IST