B'desh ruling party proposes enactment of new law to form EC

by IANS |

Dhaka, Jan 18 (IANS) Awami League (AL), the Bangladesh's ruling party, has called for taking necessary steps to ensure that the voters at all levels, including the minorities, can cast their votes in elections without any hindrance.

For this, the party leaders on Monday proposed enacting a new law on reconstitution of the Election Commission (EC). They also proposed strengthening the EC and using technologies like electronic voting machines (EVMs) in elections to make them free, fair and credible.

The proposal was made during the President M. Abdul Hamid's dialogue with political parties at Bangabhaban to discuss the EC reconstitution.

The Prime Minister and the President of the ruling party Sheikh Hasina led a 10-member AL delegation at the dialogues.

"As there's no specific law, the President has no obligation to follow any other rule, except the Constitution, for appointing the CEC and other EC members under article 118. But, it's necessary to enact a law to specify the eligibility and disqualifications of an individual while being appointed as the CEC and commissioners to uphold the spirit of the Constitution," said the proposal.

A new law in accordance with article 118 of the Constitution, may be enacted for appointing the chief election commissioner (CEC) and other commissioners, according to one of the four proposals placed by AL before the President.

"....two election commissions were formed in 2012 and 2016. On both occasions, all political parties and civil society members participated in the talks. Following the previous experiences, the law can be enacted under article 118," added the proposal.

AL delegation proposed that the President would appoint the CEC and other commissioners in accordance with article 118 of the Constitution. In the process of making these appointments, the President will appoint those whom he deems suitable and fit, it added.

Members of the delegation included, AL General Secretary Obaidul Quader, Advisory Council members Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, and Presidium members Begum Matia Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, Lt Col (retd) Muhammad Faruk Khan, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked the President for taking the initiative to hold talks with the political parties on the formation of the EC.

She said her party and the government are ready to work together to ensure that the elections will be free and fair, and that the people could exercise their voting right freely.

Meanwhile, hours before the dialogue, the Cabinet at its weekly meeting approved a draft law on the EC formation.

The Prime Minister said in the cabinet meeting, the law has been approved to form the Election Commission in accordance with Article 117 of the Constitution. Other processes to enact the law would be completed soon, she added.

The President has thanked Sheikh Hasina for giving the final approval to the law styled 'Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner Appointment Act, 2022' in reconstituting the EC.

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