Neutral poll staff difficult to find: Bangladesh official

December 21st, 2008 - 2:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 21 (IANS) As divisions are high in Bangladesh, neutral polling personnel are not found easily, Election Commissioner Brig (Retd) Shakhawat Hossain has said.”Around 3.5 lakh (350,000) polling personnel are required to conduct the national polls. As divisions are high in the country, neutral polling personnel are not found easily,” Hossain said at a discussion, The Daily Star newspaper reported Sunday.

This happens because the administration has not been made neutral, he said Saturday, adding the Election Commission (EC) requested the government to transfer officials in April so that the commission could observe them.

Hossain said officials were then replaced but still there are allegations of partisanship against many of them.

“This is injurious to the country. This must be changed as a democratic society can’t be established without changing partisan administration.”

“There are 2,000 plus manpower in the EC and around 50 percent of them are unfit for various reasons,” Hossain was quoted in The Daily Star newspaper.

European Union election observation mission chief Alexander Graf Lamsdroff Saturday urged the political parties to refrain from making ‘unsubstantiated’ allegations against the election administration as it might harm the poll process.

“If someone makes an allegation, it has to be substantiated with documents. Unsubstantiated allegations will not serve the interest of the people,” the EU chief observer said in reply to a question about Zia’s allegation of conspiracy by the EC.

“The comments delivered over election administration have no factual evidence to support such observations. I hope all political parties will participate in the election with a positive attitude to hold a free and fair election,” said Lamsdroff.

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