Parliament has endorsed a new law that will allow politicians to change sides as they deem fit. As the bill becomes a law, it revokes the RPO requirement to be a member for three years in order to become a party candidate and run for Parliament.
Monday the House passed the ‘Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2013’ paving the way for declaring the convicts of any crime under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973 ineligible for contesting the national election.
The newly passed law also provides for increase of security money and election expenditure for the candidates in the national election. It, however, excludes from the election expenditure the expenses to be incurred by the party chief for traveling to various constituencies on election campaign.
Law Minister Barrister Shafique Ahmed piloted the bill in the House that was passed by voice vote. As per the bill, the increased security money will be Tk 20,000 instead of existing Tk 10,000 while a candidate will be able to spend Tk 25 lakh in place of existing Tk 15 lakh in the election.
The law limits the amount of donation to be given by any individual to the party fund at Tk 25 lakh instead of existing Tk 10 lakh while the amount of such donation will be Tk 50 lakh instead of Tk 25 lakh in case of any company or organisation.
It also provides that when it appears necessary to transfer any employee of any department of the government or of any other organisation in the interest of fair election, the Election Commission may request the concerned authority in the matter in writing and such transfer shall have to be made effective as soon as possible on receipt of such request from the Commission. In the objectives the bill, it was stated that if the law is enacted it will help hold a free, fair and neutral election. – UNB
Our Staff Reporter adds: Leaders of different political parties including the main opposition BNP condemned and criticised the government’s for the amendment to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) providing the scope for people to change party affiliation before national election.
They said the opportunity to contest the polls only by joining a party would increase the use of money in the election and getting a nomination.
The leaders demanded turning the Election Commission (EC) independent, neutral and strong institution and reform in the election system.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir at a press conference on Monday termed the move as a “blue-print” of the government to hold a one-party election.
“The government has been going ahead with a blue print to hold one-party election and the EC is implementing the government agenda,” he alleged.
CPB President Mujahidul Islam Selim and General Secretary Syed Abu Zafar Ahmed, in a statement, condemned the government for amending the Representation of People Order (RPO) with the provision to allow newcomers in a party to contest the national election.
They said the provision for newcomers to take part in the polls would encourage criminalisation and lack of ideology in politics.