The first step to holding credible elections is the formation of a neutral Election Commission.
For the EC to do its job well, it must be above and beyond any political bias, and must ensure sure fair play.
If history is a guide, then this looks to be a tall order. In the past, the EC has been seen with suspicion, and has often been accused of colluding with the party in power.
A legitimate political process is not possible without a level playing field, and that can only come about through ensuring an unimpeachable EC and a satisfactory election
However, a legitimate political process is not possible without a level playing field, and that can only come about through ensuring an unimpeachable EC and a satisfactory election.
We are confident that a properly functioning and empowered EC is possible -- India manages to hold the largest democratic process in the world through the constitutionally upheld institution of the EC, and does so without the partisan blame games that we see in Bangladesh.
It would be a wonderful thing for Bangladesh to be able to replicate that success.
Indeed, it could change our whole political culture, which right now is rife with mistrust, accusations, and counter-accusations.
The EC must, first and foremost, never abuse its power, if it is to gain public confidence.
This calls for nominating the right commissioners who will work towards building back the integrity of the commission.
The selection process for EC officials must be transparent. If officials are seen to have partisan leanings, it is a foregone conclusion that the election will be controversial.
As we take steps towards forming the 11th Election Commission, let us hope that Bangladesh can turn over a new page and hold free and fair elections, and uphold the true spirit of democracy.