Leaders of the newly-formed platform ‘Udbhigno Nagarik Samaj (Concerned Citizens)’ placed the proposal in a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club.
Convener of the platform and ex-Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda read out a written statement in the press conference.
“Unfortunately, our leaders, consciously or unconsciously, have failed to recognise that democracy can only flourish through the paralleled development of strong and accountable institutions, committed opposition to the ruling party and willingness to compromise and reconcile on the past and present issues. Instead, they consider democracy as an instrument of aggrandizement of their political power and strong neutral institution as impediments to that design,” Huda said.
As a result of it, he said winning elections by any means has become a life and death question for the political parties.
Referring to the opposition’s long movement following the annulment of the caretaker government system, Huda said the economy has already suffered huge losses and a fear is there that a mid to long-term impact of the current political instability will be extremely damaging. “More importantly, the citizens are also without any avenue to express their concern and opinions freely and without fear. In short, citizens are voiceless.”
“We, a group of non-partisan and concerned citizens of Bangladesh, driven by individual conscience and collective responsibility, feel compelled to put before the country a roadmap seeking political consensus to enable a long-term solution to the country’s perennial political problems,” the platform convener said.
He said they put forward their suggestions based on the premises that the long-term sustainable solution to the present crisis will require certain constitutional reforms and institutional rearrangements. “Our suggestions can be divided under two broad headings: constitutional reforms and institutional restructuring.”
Huda said there is a need, through necessary amendments to the constitution, to institute more effective checks and balances within the state apparatus and clearly define the role of the elected representatives at different levels of the government with suitable statuary provisions to fulfil their roles.
Their proposals for constitutional reforms include, making the office of the President fully independent and method of election to the office of the President direct or indirect, ensuring checks and balances of power and authority between the President and the Prime Minister, making the President’s power of approval discretionary power and keeping mandatory provisions for holding of referendum on issues of national and local importance.
The platform also thinks constitutional and statuary bodies like the Jatiya Sangsad, Supreme Court, Election Commission, Public Service Commission, Anti Corruption Commission and Human Rights Commission should be targeted for reforms.
Huda said the institutional development of political parties is also considered to be very crucial for institutionalising democracy and bringing about equity and fairness in the governance process.
They also think there should be internal democracy of the political parties having transparency of their finances and the party high-ups should be accountable to their members.
About their proposal, Huda said they will arrange several dialogues engaging people from all walks of life and professions to have their support in favour the proposals.
Source: Bd Today