AL proposes measures to make polls free, fair
Bangladesh Awami League placed a host of proposals, including enactment of a law on the formation of the Election Commission, during a dialogue with President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban on Monday, an official said.
The ruling party's10-member delegation at the talks was led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is also the president of the party, Joynal Abedin, president's press secretary told UNB.
Hours before the talks the Cabinet at its weekly meeting approved the draft of a law on the formation of Election Commission.
The party, in its proposals, also said that article 118 of the constitution empowers the president to appoint the chief election commissioner and other commissioners through a process he would deem appropriate.
One of the proposals said presiding and polling officials must be chosen only from among the officers and officials of the government instead from non-government organisations.
The delegation also proposed to increase the use of information technology to make every election free, transparent and fair.
The AL stressed that an independent and effective EC is a must for making the election free and fair. It must be ensured that law enforcement agencies and others responsible for conducting polls act in an impartial manner.
The party proposed making the voters' list accurate and authentic by photograph of each voter along the name, ensuring security at polling stations and greater use of EVMs in the polling.
The party also called for an end to the use of muscle power in elections and ensuring that voters at all levels, including religious minorities, can exercise their rights properly.
The delegation highlighted the need to ensure the safety of voters before and after the elections and placement of the administration and law enforcement agencies under the supervision of the Election Commission during elections and limit the activities of government during elections to routine responsibilities.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina thanked the President for taking the initiative to hold talks with the political parties on the formation of the Election Commission.
She said her party and government is ready to work together in conducting free and fair election and making sure of that the people can exercise their voting right freely.
The prime minister told the president that the Cabinet at its weekly meeting on Monday approved the draft of a law on the formation of the Election Commission in accordance with the constitution.
She also said that other processes to enact the law would be completed soon.
Thanking the Awami League delegation for giving opinion on the formation of the EC, President Hamid said it should be formed soon as per the constitution.
He said talks have already been held with 25 political parties while the next step will be taken to form the Election Commission in the context of the discussion.
He also thanked the government for approving the law on formation of Election Commission at the cabinet meeting.
He hoped that the law would be passed in the parliament soon and the public opinion would be reflected in the law.
The other member of delegation were- General Secretary Obaidul Quader, members of AL advisory council- Amir Hossain Amu and Tofail Ahmed, and presidium members- Begum Matiya Chowdhury, Sheikh Fazlul Karim Selim, Dr Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Lt. Col. (Retd.) Muhammad Faruq Khan, Jahangir Kabir Nanak and Abdur Rahman.
With his meeting with the AL President Hamid wrapped up the dialogue he opened on December 20 on formation of the new EC as the incumbent one ends its tenure next month.
According to Bangabhaban press wing, 32 political parties were invited to the talks.
Seven political parties, including BNP, declined the invitation, while 25 registered political parties took part.
The country has now 39 registered political parties, according to the EC website and only nine of them have representation in Parliament.
The nine parties are Bangladesh Awami League, Jatiya Party, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Bangladesh Workers Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-Jasod, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Ganoforum, Bangladesh Tarikat Federation and Jatiya Party-JP.