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Khaleda: Army should be given magisterial powers during polls

  • Published at 05:17 pm November 18th, 2016
  • Last updated at 10:39 pm November 18th, 2016
Khaleda: Army should be given magisterial powers during polls

BNP proposalsA search committee, clean EC, ballot reforms and empowerment of the military during election are the focal points of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s recommendation for the reconstitution of the election commission (EC).

The EC is stipulated to be reconstituted by February next year as the tenures of incumbent commissioners including the chief election commissioner (CEC) will expire halfway through February.

In her speech, the former three-time prime minister suggested the President of Bangladesh to take into account the recommendation from a constitutionally-advised search body while appointing the CEC and the three commissioners.

Asking the President to head the search body, she said it needs to engage all major political parties to listen to their issues and suggestions before placing the final recommendations.

Unanimous consensus is a must for reconstitution process of the election commission,” she said while briefing the press at Dhaka’ Hotel Westin.

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Though Khaleda refrained herself from suggesting a favourite, she stressed that every EC appointee must be “honest, bold and uncontroversial.”

Khaleda’s EC proposals

She also urged the President to make public the tentative nominees’ résumés and asset statements ahead of finalising appointments.

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She also voiced her support for allowing non-resident Bangladeshis to vote, a demand from more than 10 millions of Bangladeshis living abroad, that has been falling on deaf ears of every administration since the independence of Bangladesh.

It is not the constitution-mandated task of the President to form a search committee to look for competent candidates for EC appointments. However, the preceding president, Md Zillur Rahman, had formed a search committee before appointing the current CEC and commissioners.

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The BNP chairperson met with her party’s highest policy making body on Thursday evening before she presented her proposal.

BNP, which has exchanged power in turn with its arch rival Bangladesh Awami League (AL), now the ruling party, since 1991, boycotted the January 5, 2014 election as it was held under a partisan government.