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EC to ask govt for law on appointment

EC to ask govt for law on appointment, Bangladesh News

Sunday, 25 October 2009

The Election Commission will send a proposal to the government to make a law on the appointment of election commissioners through parliament's Business Advisory Committee.

"We will send the proposal to the prime minister to formulate law on appointment of election commissioners," chief election commissioner A T M Shamsul Huda told a roundtable organised by Transparency International, Bangladesh at BRAC Centre Inn on Sunday.

"Though the Election Commission has an independent legal structure its fairness and transparency depends on the appointment of commissioners," Huda said.

Many have been speaking of constitution of a constitutional committee to appoint the election commissioners for consensus of all political parties.

But Huda thinks these appointments can be made through the advisory committee.

The speaker heads the Business Advisory Committee also composed of leader of the House and the opposition leader.

The EC had sent a draft proposal to the interim government for formulating an ordinance on the appointment, with priorities attached to 'on condition of provisions of law' in the recruitment of chief election commissioner and election commissioners.

The draft proposal titled 'The Election Commissioners' (Method of Recruitment) Ordinance' was on forming a three-member commission, including a woman member, with qualified, neutral and acceptable people.

A search committee will be formed to nominate panel of candidates after examining their qualifications in line with law. The parliamentary advisory committee will finalise it.

Before that the EC will send the recommendations of the search committee to the prime minister's office.

An election commissioner loses his/her neutrality if the appointment is made by the government or if he/she is appointed to another constitutional position while holding a constitutional position, Huda said.

The BNP-led government in 2006 had appointed Appellate Division judge M A Aziz as chief election commissioner after sending him into retirement.

Later four more election commissioners were appointed during the Iajuddin Ahmed-led caretaker government regime.

Mentioning such irregularities, Huda said: "The commission will not be able to work independently if right persons are not appointed. Right and qualified people should be given appointment."

He believed that the advisory committee can make the appointment and added that they would send a proposal to the prime minister to formulate thelaw.

Criticising the previous Election Commission, he said: "The past commission did not leave anything for us. We had to start from scratch.

"We want to leave a successful commission for the future," Huda said.

No qualification was set in the constitution or law for the appointment of the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners. The president has been given the authority to appoint the commissioners in the section 118 of the constitution.

But the president does not have the freedom to apply the authority. According to section 48 (3), the prime minister appoints the president following his/her wishes.

As there is no condition regarding qualification the prime minister can appoint any person s/he likes.

The section 118 (1) of the constitution says that there will be an Election Commission in Bangladesh with the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners according to the president's order issued from time to time and the president will appoint the commissioners following the provisions of law.

As many as 10 CEC and 19 commissioners have been appointed since independence.

The incumbent EC led by Huda was appointed in February 2007.

Source: bdnews24.com

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