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On the way to an independent Election Commission January 31, 2008

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The government has approved a proposal of Election Commission (EC) Secretariat to free it from the control of Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The proposed EC Secretariat ordinance will ensure independence of the secretariat under full control of the chief election commissioner (CEC), chief adviser’s Press Secretary Syed Fahim Munaim told reporters after the meeting.Fahim said the approved ordinance was sent to the law ministry for final vetting before the president can promulgate them into laws.

According to the approved EC Secretariat ordinance proposal, the secretariat will be considered as a division according to the Rules of Business under the control of the EC. It will also have its own budget as per its request and will be responsible for the appointment of its secretary and other staff.

The demand for separation of the EC Secretariat from the control of PMO always figured prominently in the proposals placed at different times by former election commissioners, civil society groups and political parties. The EC had faced difficulties in conducting polls because of interference from the executive. The EC secretary often seemed to be working against the commission and only those who would serve best the interests of the ruling party or alliance were appointed to the commission’s posts.

With a view to breaking free from the PMO grip, the current EC came up with a number of proposals on June 7 last year.

The advisory council had approved the proposals in principle on June 23 and asked the law ministry to draft an ordinance.[Abridged from Daily Star, 30 Jan 2008]

The Chief Election Commissioner when asked by the journalist said ‘It is a step towards fulfillment of our demand of an independent EC. We have submitted our proposals earlier. There are still more demands to be fulfilled’. [ATN]

An ordinary citizen

Post script: 31 Jan 2008

Only 3 out of 7 proposals forwarded by the EC were considered for the upcoming ordinance. The 4 left over proposals include a) power of the EC to frame regulations for carrying out its own functions b) to appoint EC Secretary and other executives on the requirement of the Commission c) to keep the secretariat accountable to the Commission d) to keep the power to control the manpower and to make structural change in the hands of the president.

CEC hope to discuss the matter with the Chief Adviser before the proposed ordinance is sent to the President.

Link : Prothom Alo Report
Prothom Alo Editorial


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