The Election Commission (EC) is ‘confused’ after deciding to ‘give up’ the power accorded to it by the RPO to cancel candidature for breach of regulations.
Although two weeks have passed after the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) gave formal explanation over the matter, a supplementary amendment proposal of the Act has not been forwarded to the law ministry.
The Representation of the People Order (RPO) lays down the legal framework for Bangladesh’s electoral democracy, specially the conduct of the elections that lies at the heart of it.
Section 91 (E) authorises the EC to cancel candidature if an investigation reveals electoral malpractice or any other grave violation of regulations against any candidate.
Election Commissioner (EC) Abdul Mobarak was clearly surprised when asked why the proposal had not been sent.
“I just learnt it from you,” he said.
On Jul 30, explaining the EC’s stance on section 91 (E) of the RPO, the CEC had said: “The provision contradicts the idea of a level playing field … It is not wise to have provisions that conflict.”
Two days before that the Commission had decided to revoke the much-talked about section of the RPO.
However, EC officials said they had been asked not to forward the proposal without further orders of the top EC Secretariat official.
The Constitutional body is facing fire over its decision to abrogate the power.
An EC official, preferring anonymity, said, “Despite the Commission’s approval to abrogate the section, the proposal is not being sent. If the proposal is not sent to the government, the power stays.”
“May be they (EC) are waiting to observe the current situation,” he said.
On Jul 25, the EC forwarded an amendment proposal of the RPO ahead of the upcoming national elections.
Section 91 (E) was included for the first time during the last Parliament polls to which both the Awami League and BNP had objected.
Now, the ruling Awami League is silent but opposition BNP says the provision needs to stay which would assist the EC.
Signed by EC Deputy Secretary Abdul Wadud, the one-line ‘supplementary amendment’ proposal currently rests at the law division of the Commission. Officials say the proposal would be forwarded to the ministry as per the Secretary’s directions.
Parliament would meet on Sep 12 ahead of the 10th national election. The amendment would have to be vetted by the law ministry before it gets a final go ahead from the Cabinet.
Source: Bd news24