The ruling Awami League has demanded that members of parliament (MP) be allowed to participate in the city election campaigns. Although the Election Committee (EC) was initially hesitant, they are now viewing the participation of MPs as a positive thing, said sources.
On April 12, a delegation of Awami League demanded from the EC that MPs be allowed to participate in the election campaigns. Following this, EC held an emergency meeting on April 19. The meeting’s primary agenda was to review and make changes in the 2016 election code of conduct for the upcoming polls-time.
The demand is now being reviewed by a committee led by Kabita Khanam. EC is considering changing the electoral code of conduct following Awami League’s proposal.
After the meeting, EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said: “A city corporation is a large area. The MPs live in the city areas. When the election schedule is announced, they cannot freely move about. According to the law, they can cast their votes on the voting day and the rest of the time, they have to stay outside the areas.”
He said as the issue of bringing changes to the electoral code of conduct was involved, the committee led by Kabita Khanam will make a proposal on changes that can be made.
Although no exact timeframe for submitting the report was fixed, the committee had been asked to submit it as soon as possible, he said.
When asked why the move was made after the announcement of the election schedule, he said the code of conduct might need updating at any point. “The context is different now. The lawmakers cannot move about freely due to legal complications. We are discussing the update.”
When asked if the changes are being made in the face of pressure from the ruling party, he said, “There is no pressure from them. Political parties are the stakeholders of the Election Commission. We consider their suggestion and proposals as part of the election process. We are obligated to discuss any official issues raised by them.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com