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City polls: EC undecided on allowing MPs to join campaigns

  • Published at 07:04 am April 26th, 2018
City polls: EC undecided on allowing MPs to join campaigns
The Election Commission's (EC) Law and Regulation Reform Committee is undecided about allowing lawmakers to participate in election campaigns for the upcoming Gazipur and Khulna city corporation polls. The committee discussed the implications and impact of letting MPs take part in election campaigns at a meeting on Wednesday. But, a concrete decision regarding the issue is yet to be taken. The committee is scheduled to hold another meeting next week. Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam, who is also the committee chairperson, confirmed the matter. According to sources, the ruling Awami League party recently proposed that city corporation electoral codes of conduct regarding the involvement of lawmakers in the polls should be reformed. On April 19, the Election Commission held an emergency meeting to discuss the issue. However, the attending officials could not reach consensus. The task was then handed over to the Election Commission’s Law and Regulation Reform Committee. An official who attended the Wednesday meeting, said: “City corporation rules and regulations were discussed in the meeting. The issue of lawmakers participating in election campaigning was discussed.” “But, no counter arguments were presented, as the proposal was put forth by the ruling party. We discussed the impact of such a move on the upcoming polls.” Another official who was also present at the meeting, said: “There are no legal barriers against BNP leaders taking part in election campaigning. But ruling party lawmakers are unable to do so due to existing regulations. “This is creating inequality among the stakeholders.” Meanwhile, another official pointed out that if the electoral code of conduct for city polls is amended to give permission to MPs for campaigning, then they might want the same facility in all upazila, municipality, and union parishad elections. So the need for amending the code of conduct for every type of polls could arise in the future. The formal inclusion of social networking platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter, as campaigning platforms was also discussed at the meeting.
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