Director, Election Working Group
Topics: Voter Registration
Keywords: donor relations, election management body, enfranchising marginalized groups, media relations, monitoring, rural voter registration, voter education, voter fraud, voter registration
Interviewer(s): Varanya Chaubey
Country of Reform: Bangladesh
Location: Dhaka, Bangladesh
Date: Tue Feb 24 2009
Zahurul Alam discusses the role of the Election Working Group—a coalition of 33 nongovernmental organizations—in voter registration, voter education and election observation in Bangladesh. He begins by discussing recent events in Bangladeshi politics, including the 2007 elections boycott by most political parties and the imposition of a state of emergency. He speaks about other challenges to fair elections, especially the existence of 15 million false entries in the voters list. The working group and the Bangladesh Election Commission together created a new voters list. He elaborates on the efforts of the working group to mobilize voters for registration, including voter education, advertising and information dissemination, and the organization of rallies across Bangladesh. Alam discusses specific efforts to provide information to rural and minority voters. He further reflects on the organization and management of the working group, and speaks at length about support from the election commission, other NGOs, the media and the army. Finally, Alam speaks about the subsequent role of the working group in election observation in 2008.