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Dhaka Tribune

President’s talks with political parties over new EC starts Monday with Jatiya Party

The outgoing election commissioners were similarly appointed through a search committee after president’s dialogue with parties

Update : 03 Jan 2022, 01:28 PM

President Md Abdul Hamid will start dialogues with the registered political parties on Monday to discuss issues relating to the reconstitution of the Election Commission.

The dialogue will formally begin with the main opposition in parliament, Jatiya Party (JaPa).

The five-year tenure of the incumbent commission, led by Chief Election Commission KM Nurul Huda, will expire in mid-February next year.

Nine of the 39 registered political parties having representation in parliament will be invited to join the talks first. 

The nine parties are Awami League, Jatiya Party, BNP, Bangladesh Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-Jasod, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Gonoforum, Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, and Jatiya Party (JP).

“A Jatiya Party team led by Chairman GM Quader will attend the dialogue at 4pm [on Monday] at Bangabhaban at the invitation of President Abdul Hamid, '' said Khandaker Delwar Jalil, the JaPa chairman’s press secretary. 

As per the constitution, the EC should be formed under a law, but this law has not yet been enacted in Bangladesh. The new election commission will have to arrange the 12th general election between November 2023 and January 2024.

Article 123 (3) of the Constitution states that a general election of the Members of Parliament shall be held- (a) in the case of a dissolution by reason of the expiration of its term, within the period of ninety days preceding such dissolution; and (b) in the case of a dissolution otherwise than by reason of such expiration, within ninety days after such dissolution.

On November 18, Law Minister Anisul Huq said it would not be right to hastily enact a law for forming the Election Commission.

Earlier, a representative team led by Dr Badiul Alam Majumdar, secretary of civil rights organization Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan), handed over a copy of a draft Election Commission Enrolment Law.

Dr Badiul Alam had suggested promulgating an ordinance to enact the law.

The law minister said: “It won’t be right to put the law into practice by sidestepping parliament.” 

On November 29, the law minister said a bill would be placed in parliament in an upcoming session to enact a law on the Election Commission formation.

The BNP has long been demanding the reformation of the EC under a neutral, polls-time government. Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Saturday said that the party would join the polls only if the government stepped down.

He also refused to accept the formation of the EC through a search committee under the current government.

In December 2016, President Abdul Hamid held a series of talks with the registered political parties over the EC’s reconstitution and then formed a six-member search committee to recommend names for the CEC and election commissioners.

The search committee sought five names from every political party. The committee later submitted 10 names before President Md Abdul Hamid to appoint CEC and election commissioners from among them.

The president finally formed the present commission-headed by KM Nurul Huda. Then the CEC and other commissioners took oath on February 15, 2017.

In 2012, then president Zillur Rahman constituted the Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad-led Election Commission also through a search committee after holding meetings with political parties.

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