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EC’s RPO amendment proposal remains pending

  • Staff Correspondent
  • 28 November, 2022 12:00 AM
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EC’s RPO amendment proposal remains pending

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The government has turned a deaf ear to a proposal of the Election Commission over amending the Representation of People Order ahead of the parliamentary elections.

The EC sent the draft proposal to the ministry of law on August 8 requesting it to take necessary measures in this regard.

Getting no response, the EC again sent letters on September 28 and October 10 requesting the ministry to inform the EC about its decision on the draft proposal.

Despite elapsing three and half months of time, the Law Ministry has refrained from informing the EC about this.

In this situation, the Commission on Sunday (November 27) sent another letter to the ministry over the progress of the amendment proposal of the RPO.

 The letter mentioned that all executive authorities have to assist the Election Commission in discharging its duties according to Article 126 of the Bangladesh Constitution.

The EC also requested the ministry to inform it about the draft of the amendment by December 15 and it is the last time request in this regard.

The amendment includes increasing the power of the EC to cancel the voting and the power of the presiding officer to stop the voting, provision of punitive action for intimidation of candidate agents or preventing them from going to the centre, and punishment for preventing journalists from performing their duties.

The scope of punishment of officials for negligence of duty, making it mandatory for candidates to submit income tax certificates, makes it mandatory to provide vote tabulation statements to candidates and their agents, and allowing payment of defaulted bills (electricity, water, gas etc.) till the day before submission of nomination papers.

If these amendments are implemented, the authority of the EC over the electoral system will increase, as well as it is expected to play a role in stopping irregularities and lawlessness regarding elections. This will serve as a warning, especially to those who create chaos in the election by intimidation at the polling stations.