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Bangladesh passes bill legalizing the formation of an Election Commission

Bangladesh Parliament has finally passed a law—almost after five decades—legalizing the formation of the Election Commission in the country

Jan 28, 2022
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Bangladesh Parliament (Photo: DhakaTribune)

Bangladesh Parliament has finally passed a law—almost after five decades—legalizing the formation of the Election Commission in the country. Under the new law, a six-member search committee will be formed to suggest names for the post of the Chief Election Commission and other Election Commissioners. 

The bill, Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners Appointment Bill, 2022, was passed by the parliament on Thursday amid protests by opposition parties which accused the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina government of bulldozing the bill without holding "discussions with political parties and other stakeholders", reported The Daily Star. 

Bangladesh will go into general elections by the end of 2023 and the bill was passed to give a legal cover—which was absent until now—for recommending the names for elections commissioners to the country’s president. 

Under the new law, the Chief Justice will appoint a total of two members - an apex court judge as the head of the search committee, a high court judge. Two distinguished citizens—including a woman—with a background in the government or any other profession, will be appointed by the President to the search committee.

The other two members will be the comptroller and auditor general and the chairman of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission.   

Until now, the president used to appoint all members of the search committee after holding consultations with political parties. 

Once formed, the search committee will have 15 days to propose two names to the president for the post of chief election commissioner and two names against each of the commissioner's posts.

The bill came into existence after President Abdul Hamid last in December initiated dialogue with political parties. A total of 25 political parties took part in the dialogue while seven parties, including the main opposition the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), rejected the process, terming it a “meaningless” exercise. 

Critics say the constitution requires the government to form a law on the formation of Election Commission, but the government has formed the law for the formation of a search committee instead,  said The Daily Star.

(SAM)

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