Sunday, September 7, 2008

RCC election fairer than any earlier polls


The Rajshahi City Corporation (RCC) elections held on August 4 was a free, fair one and smoother than elections in the past, says findings of the country's first ever scientific exit poll revealed in the city yesterday.

International Republican Institute (IRI), a US-based organisation for advancing democracy with assistance from Jatiya Nirbachon Parjobekkhon Parishad (Janipop), conducted the survey among over 10,000 voters exiting from 50 randomly selected polling centres, out of total 130, on the Election Day.

Bangladesh Election Commission authorised for the international standard survey supported by the British High Commission.

The exit poll has confirmed public confidence in conduct and results of RCC elections, claimed the IRI as the study shows 90 per cent voters consider the RCC elections 'free and fair' with 78 per cent reporting 'no problems, difficulties and irregularities'. 

By all counts, people consider the poll as smoother than elections in the past, IRI Resident Country Director Jeff Vanness said while presenting the exit poll findings at a news briefing at Rajshahi Chamber of Commerce and Industries auditorium.

The exit poll provides independent verification that the ballots cast by voters were counted accurately as interviews with voters exiting polling centres closely match the official results of balloting.

It shows that AHM Khairuzzaman Liton obtained 47 per cent votes officially against the exit poll results of 49 per cent while his nearest candidate Mosaddek Hossain Bulbul gathered 36 per cent votes in official results against 34 per cent officially.

Many voters who were interviewed said they had to wait at polling centres for quite a long time.

Several voters complained of not finding their voter number while a few others said they saw polling staffs who do not know their jobs properly. However, the complaints of problems, difficulties and irregularities would not be over one percent, the study report said.

The exit poll revealed that young women turned out at polling centres in higher number than young men while the picture is opposite in cases of older voters. 

IRI's Senior Programme Officer Aminul Ehsan was present during the news briefing.

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