Khaleda offers 13-point suggestion for EC reconstitution

Khaleda offers 13-point suggestion for EC reconstitution

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Unveiling a 13-point proposal for the formation of a new stronger and neutral Election Commission (EC) to hold credible elections, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Friday said the next Commission must be constituted based on the consensus of all political parties.The BNP chief spelled out the proposals at city’s Westin Hotel in the afternoon.In her proposals, Khaleda focused on determining the qualifications of election commissioners and formation of a search committee for appointing election commissioners on the basis of a consensus among political parties, empowering and strengthening the EC, keeping the partisan election officials out of election duty, and deployment of defence forces with magisterial power during the polls.She also highlighted amending the RPO, vesting magisterial power with EC officials, appointing election observers, delimitating constituencies, and updating the voter list.Mentioning that the facilitative role of an election-time neutral administration is a must to enable the EC offer a fair and credible election, the BNP chief said she will also spell out the framework of a neutral election-time government before the nation at an appropriate time.

Khaleda came up with her party’s proposal to reconstitute the EC as the incumbent Commission headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad is set to complete its five-year tenure on February 8, 2017.The BNP chief said, “The Election Commission is to be reconstituted upon a consensus of all registered political parties of Bangladesh, and or of all political parties which had representation in the national parliament over different periods since Bangladesh’s liberation.”She said the President will initially hold separate meetings with the secretary general or general secretary or representative of all registered political parties, and or with the representatives of all political parties that had representation in the national parliament over different periods since the liberation of Bangladesh.She, however, said, “Since there are at present two major political alliances — BNP-led 20-party alliance and Awami League-led grand alliance –in the country, there can be one representative, each from the party leading the alliances and two others assisting each of them. “The President may involve honest, qualified and impartial representatives of the civil society in the process.The BNP chief said the President will continue talks on the qualification, disqualification and nomination of the Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners until any consensus is reached among the political parties.After the meetings with the political parties, Khaleda said the President’s office will publish agreed meeting minutes and unanimous decisions taken at the meetings, containing the signatures of the respective representatives of the political parties.About the constitution of a search committee, Khaleda said the President will constitute a five-member search committee on the basis of a consensus of the political parties.She said an active and physically capable retired Chief Justice of Bangladesh (according to order of seniority) can be made convener of the search committee.One retired Judge of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, an honest and non-partisan retired Secretary to the government, a renowned educationist (retired university professor) or a widely respected eminent citizen and a widely respected honest, non-partisan, efficient, and capable senior woman can be four other members of the search committee.But all the five members of the search committee must be above any controversy who did not ever hold or presently holding any office of profit of the government.The BNP chairperson said all the political parties will hold separate meetings with the President and each party will make specific written proposal for the appointment of the members of the search committee, and recommend two specific names and their details for each post.Talking about the qualifications of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), she said a former head of any constitutional body, or an honest and non-partisan retired secretary to the government, who is not holding any office of profit of the government, or an eminent citizen shall be eligible for appointment as the CEC.But a retired Cabinet Secretary and an officer who had at any time worked in the office of the Prime Minister shall not be eligible for appointment as CEC.Khaleda said four persons, including a woman, can be appointed as Election Commissioners.A retired judicial officer not below the rank of a district judge or equivalent, a retired defence personnel not below the rank of a Brigadier General or equivalent, a retired government official not below the rank of joint secretary or equivalent, a senior advocate of the Supreme Court, an educationist with minimum five years of administrative experience (Dean/Provost/Principal), a widely respected eminent citizen can be appointed as election commissioners, she said.
source:UNB

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