Vol. 5 Num 990 Wed. March 14, 2007  

7-point recommendation for free, fair election
Manabadhikar Commission team meets CEC

A delegation of Bangladesh Manabadhikar Commission (BMC) yesterday called on Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr ATM Shamsul Huda at his office and placed a seven-point recommendation for holding the next general elections in a free and fair manner.

The delegation, led by BMC Chairman and former CEC Justice AHK Sadek, recommended enacting a law barring the bank loan defaulters from contesting elections. It suggested rescheduling of the default loans one year ahead of the elections.

The delegation included BMC advisers Amanullah Khan and ASM Badruddoza and its Secretary General Saiful Islam Dildar.

The delegation members said there should be a law, which will allow government officials, both civil and military, to contest elections only after three years of their retirement.

They also recommended increasing the number of election tribunals so that the electoral disputes could be resolved within six months. They suggested that the EC should have powers to cancel the candidature of anyone violating the electoral code of conduct, even after the elections.

The recommendations also include compulsory registration of political parties and disclosure of candidate's profile.

Extending their support to the current activities of the reconstituted Election Commission and its law reform measures, Justice Sadek hoped that the electoral laws should be immediately made operational.

According to a member of the BMC delegation, the Election Commission (EC) informed they are thinking of issuing national identification cards for next general elections, but it would take time.

He quoted CEC Dr. Huda as saying the reconstitution of the EC would not go far enough to make it independent of the sway of the head of the government for lack of any constitutional provision. The council of advisors has no mandate to amend the constitution for the purpose.

During the meeting the CEC was non-committal about the possible date of the elections. It would take about one and a half-year to introduce voters' ID card, he was quoted as saying.

Election Commissioners M Sohul Hossain and Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain were also present during the meeting.