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Thursday, November 27, 2014

Wednesday, November 26, 2008
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EC moves to stave off influence by high-ups

Decides to ask advisers, others not to visit constituencies of their relatives; 39 registered parties to be reminded of poll laws

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday decided to formally ask 39 registered political parties and their nominees for the upcoming parliamentary election to abide by the electoral laws and code of conduct.

To keep influence off the election it will also ask the cabinet division to direct advisers and government high officials not to visit parliamentary constituencies where their relatives are contesting the poll, EC sources said.

At a meeting yesterday the EC also briefly discussed enforcement of the mandatory electoral provision on nominating candidates from panels prepared by party committees at grassroots level. The commission, however, did not decide what to do if any party ignores the laws.

The commission also requested Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar not to use protocol facilities and attend any reception while visiting his constituency for filing nomination, the sources said.

The EC Secretariat will inform the 39 registered political parties and the cabinet division about its decision through letters in a couple of days.

Meeting sources said the commission also decided that fertiliser dealers registered with Bangladesh Chemical Industries Corporation (BCIC) are eligible for contesting the parliamentary and upazila elections.

The dealers' association had recently sought explanations from the EC about it.

The EC Secretariat will notify the association about the decision soon and issue a circular.

Following the decision, 4,800 fertiliser dealers are now eligible for contesting the polls.

The meeting also discussed the defection of disgruntled leaders to other parties.

Talking to reporters at his office, Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hussain suggested that the political parties nominate more than one candidate in each constituency and confirm the returning officer about its candidate before scrutiny of nomination papers.

According to the provision stipulated in the Representation of the People Order (RPO) and constitutions of political parties, a party must pick its parliamentary contenders from panels prepared by the grassroots level committees.

The BNP is yet to begin the process and is about to ignore the mandatory provision as it just began selling nomination papers yesterday without directing its grassroots level committees to prepare panels of prospective candidates.

The issue was raised at yesterday's EC meeting without naming any political party. The commission, however, did not take any decision on enforcing the provision fearing further political complications, meeting sources said.

About the effectiveness of the provision, Election Commissioner Sakhawat said the provision is mandatory for all registered political parties. "If a political party does not follow the provision, we may seek explanations from the party," he said.

But he said any party might not enforce the provision because of severe time constraint. "We do not expect that everything will be done overnight," he said.

Sakhawat reiterated that there is no room for misusing the EC's authority to cancel candidatures on grounds of gross irregularities in the polls.

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