Election commissioners may quit, CEC defiant

Justice Mahfuzur Rahman, SM Zakaria and Mahmud Hasan Mansur have hinted that they might step down anytime, sources have said.

india Updated: Nov 15, 2006 14:22 IST

An end to the political stalemate in Bangladesh that has triggered street violence may be in sight with the three election commissioners unwilling to continue in their posts, credible reports here indicated.

Media reports and sources close to the officials have indicated that the three election commissioners - Justice Mahfuzur Rahman, SM Zakaria and Mahmud Hasan Mansur - have "hinted that they might step down anytime".

However, despite the persisting political crisis, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), retired judge MA Aziz, remains rigid and has refused to quit so far because of what the caretaker government of President Iajuddin Ahmed says "backing from significant quarters", The Daily Star said on Wednesday.

That "backing" was evident at an all-party meeting convened by the Interim government Tuesday where the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led alliance supported Aziz in his present capacity while the Awami League-led alliance demanded the reconstitution of the Election Commission (EC) for holding free and fair parliamentary elections due in January.

There was nothing in the constitution to disturb the CEC's working, BNP's secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan told media after the meeting.

In a dramatic development, the Election Commission (EC) secretary Abdur Rashid Sarkar on Tuesday told mediapersons that he was unwilling to continue with his job amid "such a chaotic situation".

"I don't want to stay here ... Pray for me so that the government transfers me elsewhere," Sarkar said.

Sarkar was brought in earlier this year by the Khaleda Zia-led BNP government.

First Published: Nov 15, 2006 14:22 IST