Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid will open a dialogue on the formation of the new Election Commission with the main opposition party on December 18, his office has announced.
"The first meeting will held with BNP at 4:30 pm on the day at Bangabhaban," said the president's Press Secretary, Joynal Abedin, reports UNB.
He also said the President will hold meetings with Jatiya Party on December 20 around pm, Liberal Democratic Party and Krishak Sramik Janata League on December 21 around 3pm and 4:30 pm respectively and Jatiya Samajtantrik Party-Inu on December 22 around 3pm.
The President will hold meetings with other registered political parties in phases, Joynal said.
The press secretary said the President Office sent letters to the political parties in this regard on Monday afternoon.
On November 18, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia tabled a 13-point proposal for the composition of the new EC and called for reforming the body in consultation with representatives of all registered political parties, and those parties who over different periods had been represented in parliament.
BNP submitted the proposals on constituting a stronger Election Commission (EC) to Bangabhaban for President Abdul Hamid’s consideration on December 6.
Also Read- ‘Khaleda’s proposals deserve consideration’
BNP receives invitation
BNP on Monday received a letter from Bangabhaban inviting it to hold a dialogue with the president.
The party's Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi received the letter, signed by President’s office secretary Shampad Barua, around 2:25pm.
The letter, addressed to BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, has requested the party to send 10 BNP leaders’ names to Bangabhaban for the talks by December 15.
"As per Article 118 of the constitution, the Honourable President has been empowered to appoint the chief election commissioner and not more than four election commissioners. As the tenure of the present election commission expires soon, the Honourable President has expressed interest to take opinions of the political parties to form the election commission," reads the letter.
After receiving the letter, Rizvi said: “We take as the first step of the President towards forming the Election Commission.”
He said their party secretary general in consultation with the party chairperson will finalise the names of 10 party delegation members.
Also Read- Two steps forward, two steps back
In 2012, then President Zillur Rahman appointed incumbent Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad to lead the five-member EC through a search committee after holding meetings with political parties.
The tenure of the current EC expires in February 2017. The new EC will conduct the next general election, which is scheduled to be held in 2019.
The ruling Awami League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina won the 2014 election by a landslide amid a BNP boycott over the conditions for the vote, in particular the refusal to usher in a non-partisan caretaker government for the election period.
The premier would not be drawn on the new BNP proposals at a press conference held earlier this month.
"She [Khaleda] has made her proposal; now she can tell the president about it, and he’ll make the decision.We’ve nothing to say... according to the rules, the President will consider their proposal."