Search panel shortlists 20
Shohel Mamun, Tarek Mahmud

The search committee for the 11th Election Commission (EC) yesterday initially selected 20 people out of about 125 names that were recommended by several political parties.

  • A female voter casts her ballot in a transparent box with Bangladesh Election Commission emblem during a local election in Dhaka in 2015 
    Photo- Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

The committee will further shortlist the 20 names and submit them to the president by February 8, who, upon receiving the names, will select five people for the posts of a chief election commissioner and four election commissioners.

However, the search panel did not reveal the names.

“The committee will further verify the recommended people’s eligibility, professional career and acceptance in society,” said Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam, coordinator of the search committee.

His comments followed a meeting the six-member search committee, led by Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, held at Supreme Court Judges’ Lounge.

The committee will sit with five more eminent personalities – former chief election commissioner Abu Hena, Barrister Rokon Uddin Mahmud, Dainik Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar, The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam and Security Analyst Major General (retd) Abdur Rashid – at the same venue at 11am today, he also said.

On a separate note, Shafiul said: “The committee has not recommended their own choices yet, though it can do so on its own if it wants.”

Terming all the search body members professional, experienced and respected, Shafiul said they can still recommend any name from their experience.

Twenty-seven political parties including the Awami League (AL) and the BNP submitted  names of their favourable candidates to Cabinet Division’s Additional Secretary (administration and law) Abdul Wadud before the meeting yesterday, as per the deadline.

Four parties – Islami Andolan Bangladesh, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Gono Forum and Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish – did not submit any name to the search panel.

Shortlists by by AL, BNP

Awami League Office Secretary Abdus Sobhan Golap and BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi submitted names on behalf of respective parties, which both parties declined to disclose.

Golap said the list was finalised on Monday at a joint meeting of the party.

Saying that it is not high time the names were revealed, he said the nominees were selected based on their competence, transparency and belief in the spirit of the Liberation War.

However, some sources at Cabinet Division and AL, preferring anonymity, hinted that the list includes Prime Minister’s Office’s former secretary Molla Wahiduzzaman, former Inspector General of Police Nur Mohammad, PM’s ex-principal secretary Abdul Karim, ex-information commissioner Sadeka Halim and former secretary Monjur Hossain.

Meanwhile, Rizvi said he had no idea about the names his party recommended.

“Our party high command gave me a sealed envelope [consisting the names],” he claimed, saying the names were chosen following the 13-point preamble given to the president regarding the next general election.

The party and Cabinet Division sources, nevertheless, gave a hint that local government expert Tofail Ahmed, former Bangladesh Bank governor Salehuddin Ahmed, eminent lawyer Shahdeen Maleek, Professor Taskim A Rahman and Asaf Ud Dowla might have been in the BNP’s shortlist.

Bangladesh Samajtantrik Dal, in a press note, said it recommended former Bangladesh Public Service Commission Chairman Sadat Hossain, local government expert Tofail Ahmed, former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain, former ambassador Humayun Kabir and Professor Nasim Akhter Hossain.  

On January 25, the president formed the panel after holding a series of talks with 31 registered political parties.

The committee was instructed to submit the selected names and recommendation for Election Commission within ten working days while it was also asked to recommend two names against each post of the EC.

The panel was also suggested to pick a female election commissioner for the first time in the country’s history, according to the president’s instruction on the EC reformation, with three panel members being empowered to form a quorum to make any decision. 

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