President likely to form 5-strong search committee

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Election Commission

President Abdul Hamid is likely to form a five-member search committee soon over the reconstitution of the Election Commission following the tradition set by his predecessor late president Zillur Rahman in 2012.

“The president will form a search committee soon to recommend names to him for appointment as the next chief election commissioner and election commissioners” an official at Bangabhaban told UNB requesting anonymity.

During their talks with the president, most of the political parties proposed enactment of a law over the recruitment of the CEC and election commissioners, but the proposal seems to go unheeded this time.

The official said the search committee is most likely to be formed immediately after the president’s ongoing dialogue with political parties over the EC’s reconstitution, which is set to end on 18 January next.

In 2012, late president Zillur Rahman first formed a four-member search committee following the dialogue with 24 political parties before the formation of the incumbent election commission headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad.

The committee was headed by an appellate division judge and also comprised a High Court judge, the comptroller and auditor general and the chairman of the Public Service Commission.

The then committee recommended two names against the vacant post of the chief election commissioner and two for each of the election commissioners.

As per the committee’s recommendation, the then president appointed Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad the CEC, while Mohammad Abdul Mobarak, Abu Hafiz, Zabed Ali and Md Shah Nawaz election commissioners.

This time president Abdul Hamid initiated the talks on 18 December as the five-year tenure of the incumbent commission expires in February next.

So far, 23 political parties, including AL, BNP and Jatiya Party have joined the dialogue separately and placed their proposals over the formation of the next election commission which will oversee the next parliamentary elections.

Eight more political parties were invited to participate in the dialogue between 16 and 18 January.

In the dialogue with the president on 18 December last, BNP proposed the president to form a search committee making a former chief justice its convener.

The party also proposed that former Appellate Division judges, a neutral and honest professor of a university or a respected and distinguished personality and a neutral, honest and competent senior female citizen might be considered for the membership of the search committee.

BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia also gave the president a sealed envelope containing the names of 10 prospective members of the search committee.

Khaleda said if the EC can be constituted on the basis of a consensus among all political parties, it will be considered a right step towards the advancement of the country. She also pointed out the need for formation of a polls-time government.

In the dialogue on 11 January, AL placed a four-point proposal, including enacting a law for the formation of the election commission and introducing e-voting system.

The other two proposals are appointing the chief election commissioner and other election commissioners in line with the Article 118 of the constitution and taking whatever the president deems appropriate for recruiting the CEC and other commissioners.

About the first two proposals, the ruling party said an appropriate law can be enacted or an ordinance can be promulgated right now over the appointment of the CEC and other commissioners if possible. If it’s not possible due to the time constraint, it can be done before the formation of the election commission in the next time. And the initiative can start right now to enact the law in line with the constitution, the party told the president.

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