Bangladesh has compiled a new voters list that is expected to pave the
way for fair elections scheduled to be held later this year. As Anjana
Pasricha reports from New Delhi, past elections in the country have
been marred by allegations that ruling parties added millions of fake
names to electoral rolls.
The Election Commission in
Dhaka says officials assisted by army personnel, conducted door-to-door
checks for nearly a year to record the identities, photographs and fingerprints of more than 80 million voters in the country.
Officials say nearly 13 million fake, fictitious, duplicate or underage voters in the earlier list have been eliminated.
Election Commission officials say the new list is the most accurate in Bangladesh's history.
Ataur Rahman, Professor of Political Science, at Dhaka University, agrees.
one is more or less flawless so far," he said. "People in general
believe that this is going to be a more credible voter list than ever
The detailed exercise of compiling a new list began
after the army-backed government pledged to reform corrupt institutions
before holding elections, and virtually discarded the old rolls.
are hopes the new voters list will enable more credible polls. Past
elections in the country have been marred by allegations that results
were manipulated by stuffing fake names in electoral rolls.
interim government plans to hold elections in December. It came to
power last year after elections were scrapped following violent
protests by political activists who believed the polls would be rigged.
new list is being seen as a big step forward in cleaning-up the
election process. But analysts say the army-backed government faces
many more challenges to return the country to democracy.
Rahman says the army-backed government will have to engage political parties more closely as they prepare for polls.
is more than a voter list," he said. "The participation of the
political parties, and also to show that the Election Commission is
neutral all along, will be also more important. The trust of the
political parties must be earned by the caretaker government as well as
the Election Commission before a meaningful election can take place."
biggest hurdle to a credible election so far is the refusal by some
major parties to take part in the polls until their jailed leaders are
released. They have been arrested on charges of corruption.