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MPs, Statement of Wealth and Election Commission December 26, 2013

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from Daily Star

from Daily Star

Disclosure of statement of wealth of MPs and Ministers in the net and in the media embarrasses the Government.
The Ruling Party members want EC to conceal the facts.
EC is considering to comply with the request of the Government. (more…)

Army and Election December 3, 2013

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Chief Election Commissioner wanted to deploy Army long before election considering the ongoing political violence in the country that may affect the coming election. In a preparatory meeting with the law enforcing agencies, CEC wants  all the law enforcing agencies to support the election process. PSO said that Army will remain engaged in their winter exercise till the 3rd week of December 2013.

Many think that Bangladesh Army might be trying to be aloof from directly involved in the support of the government and to stand against the people.

CEC rests his hope on the next meeting with the District Commissioners on 13th instant where they might again discuss the need of Army in the pre-election phase.

An ordinary citizen

Question of Legality of The Government October 27, 2013

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Khaleda Zia has labelled the present government illegal first from 25th October and then she corrected it and set it from 27th November 2013. She urges the Administration specially Police and RAB not to follow order of the Government from this day and not to kill and torture the opposition activists. (more…)

Search for new election commissioners December 25, 2011

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The term of present 3 election commissioners including the chief elction commissioner will be over in February,2012.This commissioners were appointed during the early months of the last Caretaker Government.
The present government has proposed a dialogue with the president and the political parties to choose the next election commissioners. The response of main oppostion party BNP is not yet specific. They welcome the dialougue but they didn’t commit straight whether they will participate in the dialogue. Some opposition members are also afraid that the dialogue may be a eye-wash and the ultimate selection will be dictated by the government and will be determined to serve the interest of the party in power.
BNP also emphasied that the priority of doalogue should be on the form of government rather than the name of the election commissioners.
Anwer Hussain Munju, a faction of JP said that the diagoue is a farce and is a drama and would be useless.
Pro-government paties are showing interets and will sit in the dialogue soon.
The present Chief Election Commissioner when asked about the initiative of the government said that it is good but may not be fruitful because of the difference of opinion among the political parties. He added that they proposed for a search committee for the purpose but the government didn’t pay heed to the proposal.
Transparency International Bangladesh also suggested a search committee to choose the election commissioners and the members of the search committee should include the present CEC and an ex-CEC.

We hope that Governement will take the measures to make the Election Commission neutral and effective.

People will lose confidence on Government if they are failed to do so.

An ordinary citizen

Nayanganj Election: A tough test for the government October 30, 2011

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Narayanganj City Corporation election is going to be held on 30 October 2011. 6 candidats are competing for the post of city mayor. 3 competitors are in strong race. One of then is supported by the ruling party, the second one claiming to have the blessing the common people and the 3rd one is supported by the opposition.

The election is important from many direction for the government.

The government is obliged to arrange an electon that should be fair and neutral, well managed and free from any sort of interference. As the government is abolishing the caretaker government system and put it’s weight on the strong election commission, it should support the EC in every way to a fair election.

During the campaign, the rules of election was violated by different candidates, the EC warned the candidates but couldn’t take any major decision.

There were always allegation of muscle power, black money, intimidation of voters, communal threat and one candidate also predicts attacks by islamic terrorists.

EC declared to provide Army during election before 48 hours from the beginning. But Government rejects the proposal just before the elction creating great confusion among the voters and the countrymen.The candidates also didn’t take it easily. CEC said government has violated the constitution by not providing the Army.

This election also see the introduction of electronic voting. Objection was raised by candidates on its use in the elction where one third of the voting will be held by the machine. The proportion is enough to manipulate the result in one’s way if the program is altered Or manipulated.

The Narayanganj City Corporation election is a test for government of it,s commitment and sincerity to hold a credible elction.

An ordinary citizen

Follow up :
30.10.2011 9-00 am
Candidate supported by main opposition BNP also declared his withdrawal from the race at fag hours in protest against the government attempt to influence the election by not deploying the Army.

31.10.2011 12-30 am

Election result: Ivy is heading for victory. V for Ivy

Judiciary frustrates the Election Commission December 21, 2008

Posted by bdoza in BANGLADESH, CORRUPTION, ELECTION, JUDICIARY, POLITICS.
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A chamber judge of the appellate division of Supreme Court has ordered Election Commission to accept nominations of some convicted candidates recently after the final list of candidates were published by the Election Commission.[PA]The candidatures were earlier rejected by the EC as they were convicted for more than 2 years by the special court.

One of such candidates is Lutfuruzzaman Babar, Ex State Minister for Home who was convicted for seventeen years for keeping unathorised weapon in his possession. He has half a dozen more case against him.

The oder of the higher court has made the work of EC difficult.

Chief Election Commissioner in his reaction said that they will have to follow the order of the higher court. But the court has taken them as superman and they could accomodate any instruction at any time and even if it comes on the day of election they will accommodate.
When asked by the journalists whether court does not want election, he replied better to ask the court.[PA]

This court a few days back rejected the appeal of Nazmull Huda on the same ground and the Chief Justice along with two judges of the Supreme Court came to a decision that no more convict or loan defaulters will be allowed to compete in the election as the final list of candidates is published.

Interestingly one of the judges who was in the decision making in the morning later went against his own decision in the evening.[PA]

So far 21 new candidates will have to accommodate newly in the ballot papers. Old ballots of lakhs of Taka have to burn out and new ballot papers are required to publish. The complexity creates tremendous pressure on the EC and they are frantically searching the way out.

When the whole nation is waiting for a fair and free election and EC is trying to make a qualitative change in our system, the higher judiciary frustrates the Election Commission.

Along with the EC, people are also feeling frustrated. The frustration is magnified as the non-cooperation is coming, otherwise, from the seat of confidence. Here lies the agony of the common people.

An ordinary citizen

Election manifestos,pledges and practice December 16, 2008

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The political parties unveiled their manifestos. It all started with SK. Hasina, declaring AL manifesto on 12th in this month in Hotel Sheraton in the presence of party leaders, foreign dignitaries, journalists and many other invitees and live on the TV channels. On the following date, Khaleda Zia also declared her party’s manifesto in the same pompous way and with a little longer time.

Both the manifestos projected the 5 year agenda of their individual parties and AL goes beyond and project their vision of 2021, the year when Bangladesh will be turn into 50. I like the idea. One of the reasons of our being poor and underdeveloped is the lack of vision of our leaders.This vision 2021 give give us an idea to look forward.

The smaller parties Like JP, JI, WP, CP and a new alliance of Dr. Kamal Hussain, B Chowdhury and Ferdous Ahmed Quraishi also declared their manifestos.

Declaring the manifestos at the beginning of the election campaign give the election a good colour.

The parties make great promises in their manifestos many of which they mentioned in their earlier election manifestos but didn’t fulfill though both the major parties got the opportunity to run the country in the past decades.One example is separation of judiciary.It is the present caretaker government who completed the initiative taken by another caretaker government. Another example is strengthening the local government. In the last 15 years, no government kept their promises. The present Election Commission declared the schedule for the upazilla election- a pillar of the local government amid strong opposition from both the major alliances. We are still not sure whether the present government could complete the task after the general election.

People are also skeptic about the pledges the parties are making. They are looking back over the past years, into the record of the parties ,of the past governments, into the character and commitment of the individual candidates.

Will the party be the single dominant factor? Not necessarily. People will also look into the individuals. One of lessons people integrated in themselves over the years is to look beyond the surface & into the skeleton of parties and the candidates.

In this election, people will compare the pledges and practice of the parties and the candidates.

An ordinary citizen

Loan defaulters, High Court and Bangladesh Election December 7, 2008

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Bangladesh is going to have the next general election on 29th December 2008. After many dramatic turns all the parties came to their good sense and agreed to participate in the election.Though BNP and its alliance has given 3 preconditions, but it seems that BNP will not withdraw from the race against the tide generated for the election, if the preconditions are not fully fulfilled.

All the parties filed their nomination including the independent aspirants. On the instruction of the Election Commission, Bangladesh Bank supplied the name of the loan defaulters. Nomination papers have been scrutinized by the returning officer and many nominations were canceled on the ground of loan default, bill default, discrepancy of information etc, But many loan defaulters managed to get the stay order on the declaration of the Bangladesh Bank and managed to stand for the election.
This bypassing of the law frustrated the Election Commission, the Finance Adviser, citizens groups and the general people as well.

The issue seems clumsy to the ordinary citizen. Who deserve the right to declare one loan defaulter?
It would have been better if Bangladesh Bank be the ultimate authority in this regard atleast for the election.

Hope that the Election Commission and the government will review the matter in the next election.

An ordinary citizen

Grassroots recommendation,political parties & ultimate nomination December 6, 2008

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One of the steps taken by the Election Commission arouses glimpse of hope in the minds of ordinary citizens is the regulation to selecting the ultimate candidate for parliamentary election from the proposal of grassroots members of the party.

Accordingly AL took the initiative and completed the rituals and ultimately the parliamentary board made the nomination mostly on the basis of grassroots recommendation. There were few exceptions also.

But when BNP decided to join the election, they decided to select their nomination on the basis of the list they prepared for their election of 1/22/2007 and the role of the leaders after 1/11. In selecting their candidates,they didn’t even consider background of corruption and conviction of their leaders. They stayed in their old mindset.An Election Commissioner also encouraged the idea by saying that it is not mandatory for this election
to nominate the candidates on the basis of grassroots recommendation as said in the RPO.

AL protested the comment and said that an Election Commissioner is favoring a particular party. AL became a bit worried seeing the big stalwarts in the list of BNP candidates and AL itself started to change the nomination previously preferred and replaced them with big businessmen of their own allegiance.

It would have been better if EC could impose this RPO regulation of selecting the nomination from the grassroots recommendation.But that is not going to happen this time.

An ordinary citizen

Re-demarcation of the constituencies, the critics & the ultimate judgment November 3, 2008

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Election Commission was insisting on the re-demarcation of the constituencies from the beginning. It argues that re-demarcation is the constitutional obligation on the Election Commission which was not done over many years. Re-demarcation is necessary to distribute the population uniformly among the different constituencies.

The politicians and political parties were vehemently against the re-demarcation. They said that re-demarcation will bring unnecessary complexities and will hinder the election process. The talk show experts and many of the political analysts  were also against the re-demarcation. They were afraid that the process may create legal complexity and may be a trick by the government or the election commission to delay the election.

The EC was rigid on its stand regarding re-demarcation. They said that if the judgment goes against the will of Election Commission, they will appeal in the supreme court. However, as the judgment by the High Court goes in favour of them, as they thought, now EC declared the schedule for the general election.

Now, it is clear that the political parties and their leaders stood against the -re-demarcation for their own advantage to keep their old constituencies intact so that they can calculate their in-favour votes and be ensure about the win from the constituencies.

The ultimate judgment on the re-demarcation proves the prudence of the Election Commission and it boost up people’s confidence in their capability to hold a free and fair election on 18th December 2008.

An ordinary citizen

Election Commission declared schedule for general election in Bangladesh November 2, 2008

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Proving different speculations wrong, Election Commission in Bangladesh declared the schedule for general election to be held on 18th December 2008.

People were in confusion regarding the holding of the general election by 2008. The confusion were magnified by the criticism of the major political parties. The confusion were deepened with the delay in declaration of the judgment by the High Court on the writ petition on the re-demarcation of the constituencies.

But as the High Court uphold the the re-demarcation of the EC and as it also rejected the appeals against the judgment, the Chief Election Commission in a televised program declared the election schedule for the general election.
The CEC has also given schedule of the Upazilla Election to be held on 28 December 2008.

AL in its immediate reaction said that it is accepting the schedule and though they have some reservation regarding the upazilla election, they will participate in the election.

On the part of BNP and its allied parties,no official decision has yet come. BNP is insisting on the withdrawal of emergency and delaying the upazilla election. As their demands are not yet fulfilled and probably there is a complexity regarding the registration of an allied party, now confusion arises about the participation of BNP in the general election.

People are expecting that all the major political parties including BNP will participate in the elections and help the country through its journey to a real and stable democracy.

An ordinary citizen

Transformation of Jamaat-e-Islami to register with election commission & to conform with the RPO October 21, 2008

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One of the interesting development of the political process in Bangladesh is the submission for registration of Jamaat-e-Islami with Election Commission.

Jammaat -e-Islami was vehemently against the registration with the election commission and was instrumental for the delay of registration of BNP with the commission which was creating an uncertainty about the holding of election peacefully and with the participation of all parties.

Jammaat-e-Islami refused to sit with the EC in the second round of dialogue. EC then said that it will not extend the opportunity to JI for any further dialogue. But the changing political situation and release of Khaleda, EC offered BNP to sit with them. BNP gave condition that it will sit if its allies are also allowed to sit with them.

EC arranged a third round of dialouge where BNP and JI and IOJ were allowed to sit separately. JI refused to registrar with the EC and demanded to wipe out the RPO in its dialouge with the EC. CEC in his press briefing even mocked the stand of JI saying that this party in its first dialogue accepted the RPO but now in the month of Ramazan, who portrayed them as Islamic parties are denying its earlier stand.

JI seems to be initially adamant in its stand and could keep BNP from registering though BNP has no hindrance to register with the EC.

On the last moment both BNP and JI changed their stand and requested EC to extend the deadline for registration from 15th to 20th October 2008. On the last day of registration, both the parties submitted the application along with their constitution.

Constitution of both the parties were changed to conform with the revised RPO to fulfill the precondition of the EC.

The interesting changes that JI made are
a)to change of the name of itself from Jammat -e- Islami,Bangladesh to Bangladesh Jammat -e Islami.
b) to acknowledge the sovereignty of Bangladesh and its constitution
c) to recognise the role of freedom fighters in the independence of Bangladesh
d) to allot seats for women in the executive committees
e) to accomodate non-muslim members to give it a non-communal image, etc.

For details, please see Prothom Alo of 21 October 2008.
Daily Star of 21 October 2008
An ordinary citizen

On dilemma over the registartion of political parties with the Election Commission September 22, 2008

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Election Commission has set the time limit for the registration of the political parties 15th October 2008. EC also set some preconditions for the registration of the political parties.
EC has gone through 3 phases of dialogue over the last months on the issue and trimmed down the propositions to accommodate the request of the political parties.
AL declared the acceptance of the RPO and said that the regulations are actually deducted from the recommendations put forward by the 14 party alliances to the Election Commission. AL has no objection to the conditions of registration and blamed BNP for creating unnecessary complexities.
BNP, Jammat-e-Islami and IOJ objected to the RPO and urged EC to withdraw the RPO. EC is relaxing the conditions to accommodate all the parties in the election and hopeful that BNP will join the election.[DS]
CEC in a press coverage yesterday exclaimed on Jammat and IOJ’s total rejection of the proposals though he said that in earlier two meetings they didn’t raise any major objection.
CEC also said that it has no scope to change the RPO further. Now, the responsibility lies with the political parties.

We hope that the political parties will accept the reality and submit themselves to the changed expectation of the people and of the country.

There is no logic to straightway reject the regulations, one can best suggest to modify or rectify one or more clauses if they found it against their ideals or impractical or impossible to materialize.

An ordinary citizen

News:
RPO of contention[DS], AL yes to nearly all [DS], BNP no to all [DS]
EC relaxing the conditions for regstartion of the parties[DS]
Part registration process hits snag-BNP stillin dilemma [DS]

Will political parties be able to avoid upazilla elections? August 9, 2008

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Elections in 300 upazillas out of 482 will be held in October, 2008, EC declared.
The political parties reacted against the declaration. AL said that they will not particiate in the upazilla elections before the general election. They will approach the other members of the 14 party-alliance not to join the same. AL also said that they will formally place their proposals to the care taker government in the dialogue. Someone said that AL will hold the upazilla election after 1 month of the general election if they form the government.
Menon of Workers parties is a little bit diplomatic. He said that the present government should not hold the upazilla election before the general election, but ultimate participation in the upazilla election will depend on the situation arises once it is declared.
BNP Delwar as always against any election under the government before the general election. It views all the election would be stage managed under this government. It even did not accepted the result of the presently concluded mayoral elections in 4 cities and 9 municipalities.
But Mannan Bhuiyan, who recently released on bail from jail said that not participating in the mayoral elelctions by BNP was a wrong decision. If BNP participated it would won atleast 3 out of 4 city corporations. Though he acknowleged that the local body elections was fair and free, he told that the upazilla election should not be held under the caretaker governmentand before the general election.
But will the people listen to the aspirations of the political leaders? The political parties had the same advocay for the city corporations and municipalities elections. Local people and party activists didn’t head their advice. Ultimately the parties had to bow down to the will of the people. Here AL took more pregmatic role and they won almost all the seats. BNP was confused and they failed.

Will the people react in the same way and will political parties follow them?
Will AL and BNP take different stands and one will be looser even before the election?

An ordinary citizen

CTG to hold local government elections despite political oppositions June 20, 2008

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Election Commission is going to declare the 4 city corporations and 13 municipality elections shortly though the political parties on and off the dialogue were speaking against the local government elections before the general election of December 2008.

In the meantime, government also approved the local government Commission ordinance, 2008 to clear the path to hold the elections.[DS]

BNP, pro-Delwar faction declared that they will resist the local body elections throughout Bangladesh but AL which has recently changed their stand after the release of Hasina from jail, declared that the will participate in the local body elections though the local body elections will non-partisan and after winning the local body winners will not able to hold any portfolio in the political parties.

Ground was also being prepared as the local body representatives from different parts of the country met the advisers of the caretaker government and were demanding the local body elections before the national election.

The politicians and critics were against the move as they fear the government may use the election to form a base to counter the present political trend.

An ordinary citizen

Post script:
AL took again a turn and its acting president Zillur Rahman termed the declarartion of local government election as a joke.
But both election commission and the gvernment are on the way to hold the election.
The local people of the declared area where the elections will be hel d are showning great enthusiasm.
The Daily Star in its editorial said that free and fair election to all elected bodies is the need of the hour.[…]
The DS reported that the grassroots leaders overlook major parties boycot mood and prepare fr campeign[…]

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

Democracy in the constitution is a must for registration of the political parties November 28, 2007

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[News and reactions] Democracy is a must for registration of the political parties with the election commission. This opinion has been expressed by CEC Shamsul Huda Chy in a meeting of the Election Commission with the workers party.

He said that BNP and many other parties have no democratic rules in the party constitution and party chief has been given absolute authority to take any decision.

He commented that political parties preach for democracy but they do not practice it in their own party.

It is alleged that though the constitution of AL is more democratic in writing but in practice the authority is delegated to the chairperson to take the final decision.

Financial irregularities is also alleged against the parties as their is no clear bookkeeping, transparency and accountability for the fund.

The Election Commission is thinking of ensuring practice of democracy in the party through registering them with it. It proposes that the executive committee members will be chosen on the basis of election by the party members.

CEC said they will examine the constitution of each party before registering it.(Source: Daily Star)

Delwar Hussain, Khaleda made General Secretary of BNP said today that EC cannot dictate the constitution of a political party (ATN).

An ordinary citizen

Links:

1) NY Times on Bangladesh

2) How to achieve economic recovery

 

AL is looking beyond the dialogue September 25, 2007

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AL initially reluctant to the sit with the Election Commission, now thinking of measures that will shape the future of AL and its political allies.

Al is now exchanging views with its allies and wants to remain strict to the 30 points demands they put forward to the last Election Commission. AL wants that all the members of the 14 party would put the same proposals to the Election Commission.

Whether putting the same proposals to the Election Commission is necessary and make the dialogue monotonous or whether the proposal by than dozen political parties would make the EC a little strained, that is to see.

But what seems to be more clear is that AL is preparing ground for the next election and wants to maintain the political alliance it has formed earlier.

To the eye of the Government these steps may look to be a little earlier as the elections is still far away and main focus of the indoor politics should be the reform proposals with the election commission.

CEC has expressed his hope for withdrawal of ban from the indoor politics in other parts of the country to facilitate the election process. In reply to the questions put forward by the journalists , Law Adviser Barrister Moinul Hussain said that Government is willing to withdraw the emergency rule but it depends on how the political parties are behaving.

 

An ordinary citizen

 

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