JP, JSD propose search committee
President opens dialogue on new Election Commission
Participating in the talks with President Zillur Rahman, Jatiya Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal yesterday proposed formation of a committee to search for eligible and acceptable individuals to constitute a new Election Commission.
Both the parties' suggestions are almost identical to the present EC's proposals in this regard, and they also sought curtailing the government's unilateral authority to form Election Commission.
The current EC had earlier suggested making a law providing for an independent search committee for selecting persons subject to parliamentary scrutiny to man a new EC.
The government had also repeatedly announced earlier that it would go for enactment of a law in line with the EC's proposals, but it is yet to make any such move.
On expiry of the tenure of the present EC in early February, the president, on advice of the prime minister, will have to appoint a chief election commissioner and other election commissioners to form the new EC.
Against this backdrop, the president started the talks with political parties yesterday, seeking their opinion on the matter.
"Political parties' well-thought opinion will play an important role to constituting the new election commission," a government press release quoted the president as saying after the first day's talks at the Bangabhaban.
The dialogue with JP was held first, followed by that with JSD, both components of the Awami League-led ruling alliance.
Talking to journalists after the talks, JP Chairman HM Ershad said, "We have proposed a search committee. But we did not suggest any specific name for constituting a new Election Commission.”
Heads of different constitutional entities such as the chief justice, chairman of the Public Service Commission and auditor general might be included in the search committee, said Ershad, who led a 16-member delegation.
JP will later propose some names for the post of chief election commissioner and commissioners, Ershad said. "We will send a letter along with our proposals to the president within two or three days."
Asked about the main opposition BNP's reluctance to join the dialogue, he replied, “Whoever joins or not, the country will not wait for anyone."
JSD President Hasanul Haque Inu, who led an 11-member delegation at the dialogue, said they suggested formation of a committee, which could consist of 10 members and styled as nomination committee.
The main task of this committee will be to choose the eligible persons and send their names to an all-party parliamentary selection committee for scrutiny. The House committee will then send those to the president for the formation of a new EC, he told journalists.
Replying to a question, Inu said they will send a list of names within a day or two.
About BNP's stance over this issue, he said, "The party is hatching a conspiracy instead of practising democracy."
On Monday, the president will hold talks with Workers Party of Bangladesh and Jatiya Party (Manju).