Wednesday, 26 January, 2022
E-paper

Law minister rules out urgent enactment of law on election commission

Law Minister Anisul Huq on Thursday ruled out an immediate enactment of a law on the formation of the Election Commission stating that such an important legislation can’t be done “overnight.”

“Yes, the constitution has provision to make the law and we want to do it. But since it’s a very important law it can’t be done overnight,” he told the members of Overseas Correspondents Association of Bangladesh (OCAB) at a briefing at National Press Club.

Detailing the process of the legislation the minister said that it has to go through drafting, approval of the Cabinet and then placing it on the law ministry website for eliciting public opinion before it can be placed in the parliament.

“We must go through this process considering the importance of the legislation,” he said.

Huq said under the current system the Election Commission is formed through a process initiated by the president in 2012. Political parties holding talks with the president can suggest their choices for chief election commissioner and four members. On the basis of the recommendations the president forms a “neutral and independent election Commission” through a search committee.

“Even though the process is not a law, but it has the force of law since all political parties previously had a consensus on it and it was acted upon twice. Two national elections were held under the Election Commission formed through the search committee,” the minister said.

His comments in reply to a question came amid an ongoing dialogue President Hamid has started with the political parties on the formation of a new EC as the current election watchdog ends its five-year term on February 15 next.

Almost all parties meeting the president so far have suggested enactment of the election commission law in the next session of the parliament to meet the constitutional requirement.

The law minister said the government will also wait to see the outcome of the president’s dialogue with the political parties registered with the Election Commission.

Bangladesh has 39 such registered political parties and nine of them have representation in the current parliament.