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Workers Party wants 3 key ministries under EC control during next national election

  • Published at 07:35 pm October 11th, 2017
Workers Party wants 3 key ministries under EC control during next national election
Workers Party of Bangladesh on Wednesday proposed bringing three key ministries - the Home Ministry, Public Administration and Local Government - under the authority of the Election Commission (EC) during the next general election. The party also suggested holding the next general election under the incumbent government and the deployment of army only if deemed necessary by the EC. The leftist party placed the proposal at the EC dialogue that began at 11:00 am in the city's Nirbachan Bhaban, with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in chair. A 15-member Workers Party delegation, led by its chief and Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, placed the 14-point proposal at the meeting. "The 11th national election should be held under the present government as per the Constitution, but the government should be disallowed from making any policy decisions, except those required for routine work, after the announcement of the election schedule. The Home, Public Administration and Local Government ministries should be under the EC during the election," the party said in its written proposal.
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It also said all officials to be engaged in election duty should be kept under the EC for a certain period before and after the polls, and the EC should have the authority to take any punitive action against the officials for any offence or negligence in duty. "The government shall be obliged to implement the EC's decision on punitive action." The party also proposed that the EC not re-demarcate parliamentary constituencies ahead of the next election, as no population census was conducted after the previous delimitation of constituencies in 2013. It, however, said the EC can redraw constituencies in some cases. "We don't think there's any scope for controversy over the format of the election-time government as the polls will be held in line with the Constitution. But the election-time government will only perform routine work. It won't take any policy decision," Menon told reporters after the meeting.
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About army deployment, he said: "If the Election Commission deems it necessary, the army can be deployed as a striking force only in some cases, to aid the civil administration. We have bitter experiences with army deployment with magistracy power in the 2001 election and some other polls during the Ershad regime." Menon added that his party wants to see the full enforcement of provisions of the Representation of the People Order against the parties involved in war crimes. "We have suggested to the Commission not to give registration to any communal and ant-liberation parties. If any such party was allowed to register in the past, it should be cancelled," he said.
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Mentioning that foreign missions and donor agencies become active ahead of the national election, the minister said: "We think the interference of foreign countries in our election is unacceptable. We hope the EC won't bow to any pressure from them." He also expected that BNP will join the next election. "I think BNP will participate in the polls. It will be an appropriate decision for the party." Other proposals of the party include the introduction of an online nomination submission system, use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) alongside ballot boxes, scraping the provision for independent candidates to collect signatures of 1 percent of voters, strictly monitoring election expenditure of parties, curbing the use of intimidation and terrorism, stopping the use of religion and communal matters in election and ensuring equal facilities for all. The Election Commission on August 24 last started dialogues with 40 registered political parties to receive their opinions over the EC's preparation for the next national election, likely to be held in December 2018. So far, the Commission has held dialogues with 29 parties.
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