There is no need to change party symbols by law in local elections

Local Government Minister Tajul Islam said that there is no need to change party symbols by law in local government elections.

He said, ‘The law is made in such a way – voting can be done in party symbols, and again in non-party symbols. In this case, there is no need to change the law.’

He said these things at the seminar titled ‘Challenges in strengthening the local government system and use of party symbols in elections’ on Saturday (June 8). Reporters Forum for Election and Democracy (RFED) organized this seminar at Reporters Unity in Segunbagicha of the capital.

In 2015, the Local Government Act was amended to include the provision of candidates wearing party symbols for the post of chairman. In 2017, this local government election was held for the first time in party symbols. The law still provides for election on party symbols. Although this time the ruling party Awami League did not give the party symbol in the upazila parishad elections.

In this context, Tajul Islam said, ‘People are able to debate this because of the opportunity of democracy. It is not true that there will be no debate. Party symbol or no party symbol – I am not for or against any of the two.’

District, Upazila, Union, there is no legal framework (legal framework) that will work together, local government expert said. Tofail Ahmed. He said, “Unified law mother law” can be done in one law. It is time for us to think whether they can be integrated. More than half of municipalities are unable to pay their employees. The rural-urban divide has become very thin. If we do Mother Law – there must be Marka (symbol). A single schedule enables same-day voting, reducing election costs.’

However, former election commissioner Brigadier General (Retd.) M Sakhawat Hossain thinks that the upazila will be an independent unit. He said, ‘There was not supposed to be a symbol (in local government elections). Symbolizing means being in the hands of the center. The benefit of not giving symbols is that many people can participate here. This symbol is brought for the advantage-disadvantage of a team. No need for symbols. Let it be as it was before.’

Election observer and analyst Abdul Alim said, ‘There is no election anywhere. First, the party that comes to power installs people. Like Malaysia, there is no direct election. Second, local government elections are held on party lines. Some posts of local government are elected, some posts are reserved.

Badiul Alam Majumdar, editor of Citizens for Good Governance (SUJAN) believes that local government institutions should be regulated. He said, ‘Local government institutions should be deregulated. People’s involvement, people’s leadership should be developed. Paying 25 crores to parliamentarians is a clear violation of the constitution. Ministers, Members of Parliament, Whips are unconstitutional for all of them to be involved in local development. All development activities should be done through the local government.

Former Election Commissioner Kavita Khanam believes that local government is a very important administrative level. He said, ‘Upazila level should be strengthened. (Upazila Parishad) governing laws and regulations are unclear and incoherent. As a result, this law is sufficient to render the administration ineffective. Having a rebel candidate from the same party is against party discipline. Symbolless voting – 70 percent of the candidates here are businessmen. There is a chance to become an independent candidate if the symbol is not given. As a result, it is not a big thing to have a symbol or no symbol, political etiquette is a big thing.’

Former mayor of Dhaka South City Corporation and Member of Parliament of Dhaka-6 Constituency Saeed Khokon said, ‘Party symbols cannot be used in local government elections – this is a timely decision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.’

RFED president Ekramul Haque Sayem presided over the seminar. Organized by the general secretary of the organization. Humayun Kabir.