Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has published a commentary on the ongoing local elections in Bangladesh and low voter turnout.
First two rounds of elections for the local level councils, called Upazilla, have seen the lowest voter participation in the history of the country. One of the members of Electoral Commission has commented that the electoral system needs to be reformed.
Riaz, in his OpEd published in the Daily Star, argues that Bangladeshi citizens have lost faith in the electoral system not because of the weaknesses of the system instead the abuse of the system by the ruling party and the failure of the Election Commission to protect a fundamental right which it was entrusted to protect. Riaz further writes, the trust deficit is not on the system itself, but on the institutional mechanism and the politics which have deliberately hollowed out the system.
The election has been boycotted by most of the opposition parties and even the allies of the ruling collation has expressed dismay at the irregularities. Riaz, insist that a mistaken prescription will only help to push the situation further into a downward spiral, however well-intentioned it may be.