MPs can now take part in city election campaign: EC

MPs can now take part in city election campaign: EC

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Dhaka, May 24 – Lawmakers are now allowed to take part in campaigning for civic polls without any restriction, as they are not holding any office of profit, the Election Commission (EC) said yesterday (Thursday).
“As the lawmakers do not hold any office of profit, the designation ‘Member of Parliament’ has been removed from the definition of the most important person of government beneficiary. They can now participate in the electoral campaign,” said EC secretary Md Helal Uddin Ahmed.
“But no lawmaker, candidate or electoral agent can use the circuit house from now on during election campaign under Provision 6 of the City Corporation (Electoral Code of Conduct) Rules 2016,” he added.
The secretary was addressing the media after an EC meeting, headed by chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda, at Election Bhaban in the capital.
Helal Uddin also said a candidate is allowed to use only a replica of the party symbol and no one can use any living animal.
“Under Provision 10 of the existing electoral rules, a candidate cannot use a living animal as the symbol for the electoral campaign. Only the replica of the animal or thing has to be used of the object,” he added.
In reply to a query, Helal Uddin said: “A candidate cannot use a real boat while campaigning. A replica of the boat has to be used. No other thing can be used except the replica of the symbol. Living elephants, horses and pumpkins cannot be used. Only their replica has to be used.”
Whether a Member of Parliament would be able to campaign for the Gazipur City Corporation polls scheduled for June 26, the EC secretary said: “The commission has approved it. Now, it would be sent to the law ministry for vetting. So, chances of lawmakers’ participation in the Gazipur civic polls is very slim.”
“The EC has investigated that the lawmakers are not holding any office of profit. They don’t use government vehicles. They don’t have personal staff. So, they have been omitted from the list of most important persons,” he added.
In reply to a query, Helal Uddin said: “Political parties are stakeholders of the Election Commission. They place various proposals before us. If any of the proposals is found to be logical, the EC considers it.”
On whether a lawmaker can influence polls, Helal Uddin said: “To prevent it, he/she is now not allowed to allocate, distribute any grants or funds or make pledges. Besides, he/she cannot use the circuit house.”
The existing City Corporation (electoral code of conduct) Rules 2016 prevents lawmakers from participating in campaigning for civic polls as they are on the list of “most important persons of government beneficiary”. On this list, other persons are the Speaker of the Jatiya Sangsad, ministers, the chief whip, Deputy Speaker, Leader of the Opposition, Deputy Leader of the House, state ministers, whip, deputy ministers, and any person of similar status and mayors of city corporations.
On April 12, an Awami League delegation demanded that the EC allow Members of Parliament to take part in campaigning for Gazipur and Khulna civic polls.
The EC held an emergency meeting on April 19, setting the agenda to review and make changes in the 2016 electoral code of conduct. And finally, the commission yesterday unanimously approved amendments of 11 points of the City Corporation (electoral code of conduct) Rules 2016.
Under Provision 2(8), candidates are not allowed to paste any poster. They can only hang posters as part of the campaign. Under the existing rules, it was allowed.
About the definition of “candidate” under Provision 2(10), any person who submits the nomination can be a candidate for the mayoral post. But earlier, a candidate had to be nominated by a political party or would be an independent candidate.
Under Provision 12 (1), the mayoral candidate now can set up one electoral camp or office in each ward. But earlier, one camp or office was allowed in each thana.
Provision 12(3) has been omitted. It had stated that television; VCR, VCD, DVD, etc cannot be used in electoral camps or offices because it is the age of information and technology.
Under Provision 17(Kha), it has been proposed that no candidate or any other person on behalf of the candidate is allowed to arrange or serve food or drinks in electoral camps.
Under Provision 25 (2), the word “lawmaker” has been added. It stated that lawmakers are now not allowed to grant or allocate any funds in favour of any person, group or organisation during the election period.
Under Provision 30, the words “any person” have been added. Now, “the candidate” or “any person” on behalf of him/her is not allowed to use the money, arms and muscle power or local power to influence the polls. – Staff Reporter

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