The Election Commission (EC) has asked all of its personnel for their views on what needs to be changed in the election laws.
On Sunday the EC sent out letters to regional election officers, district election officers and senior district election officers, also all the Election Commission secretariat staff and election training institutes asking for their views on the amendment of various election laws.
The letter asked whether Representation of the People Order (RPO) 1972, Election Conduct Rules 2008, Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates 2008, Independent Candidates Rules 2011, Election Officer (Special Provisions) Act 1991 and Delimitation of Constituencies Ordinance, 1976 need to be amended.
Senior BNP leader Nazrul Islam Khan said this was a very good initiative but seeking to amend the law and amending the law were not the same things.
“There are many gaps in the RPO which need to be corrected. Because of these gaps, a lot of corruption has occurred in the last elections. Also most of the opposite party candidates disobeyed the election code of conduct. But no steps have been taken. With this gap, most of them are getting away.”
Under the EC’s latest road map for the 11th parliamentary elections, discussion meetings will be arranged with all political parties within June.
Nazrul said BNP would present its views on necessary amendments to the RPO and other election laws in the meeting.
The secretary of Sushasoner Jonno Nagorik, Badiul Alam Majumdar said EC needed to revise the voter list as many women are excluded from the voter list. The rules for affidavit and law enforcement rules also need to change.
“All these need to be implemented in a proper manner, otherwise the amendment of law will be of no use,” he added.
Badiul demanded a reintroduction of the ‘no’ vote option in the election. For this he advised the EC to consult with the political parties, civil society and the media.
National Election Observation Council (Janipop) Chairman Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah said it was necessary to amend electoral laws based on the time and the realities of each election.
“It must be considered thoughtfully as the interests of the country are involved here. Observers play an important role for EC, so they can be consulted if necessary,” he said.
But it would not be good if EC accepts the recommendation to reduce the three-year rule to take part in the elections after retirement of government employees, he added.
Election Commissioner Brigadier General (retd) Shahadat Hussain Chowdhury said: “This is the first step to amend the law, which is mentioned in the road map we declared in May.”
He also said: “Grassroots officials understand what kind of problems arise in the field during work. They can identify what kind of law is needed or what kind of changes are required to deal with the problems. That is why we asked for their advice to amend the laws.”
After this step the EC will present their amendments to political parties, civil society and the media, he added.
The EC will also discuss with former CEC and commissioners for better result, he further added.