Dhaka, Bangladesh
Ensure neutral role of election-time govt: Dr Kamal

Ensure neutral role of election-time govt: Dr Kamal

Gano Forum on Wednesday proposed the Election Commission (EC) to ensure the neutral role of the election-time government and proper enforcement of laws during the next general election, reports UNB. A 10-member delegation of Gano Forum, led by its President Dr Kamal Hossain, placed its 22-point proposal joining the EC's dialogue held at Nirbachan Bhaban here with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda in the chair. "The election-time government and administration will have to be impartial for the sake of a fair election as per the Constitution. We asked the Commission to ensure the impartiality and proper enforcement of laws," Dr Kamal told reporters after the meeting in the afternoon. He said there should be discussions to find ways to make the administration impartial. "It must be kept free from interferences." The Gano Forum chief said his party also proposed the EC to take an initiative to protect elections from the illegal use of money and muscle power. "Two 'Ms' are the main barriers to fair voting. One is money and another is muscle power. This two Ms are destroying the country's parliamentary democracy," Dr Kamal added. Its other proposals are reinstating 'the armed forces' under the definition of law enforcement agency in the Representation of the People Order (RPO) 1972, ensuring voting rights of Bangladeshi expatriates, arranging direct election to seats reserved for women and stopping the misuse of religion in election. If the armed forces are brought under the definition of law enforcement agency, the members of the Army, Air Force and Navy deployed for election duty will again get empowered to arrest anyone without warrant within a 400-yard radius of a polling station for violation of electoral laws on any polling day. Replying to a question whether they want the army to be deployed during election, Dr Kamal said, "If needed, the army will have to be deployed. The armed forces will have to be kept under the control of EC." Earlier in the day, Gano Front proposed formation of an election-time government and deployment of army in the next general election. A 12-member Gano Front delegation, led by its chairman M Zakir Hossain participated in the EC's talks at 11am and placed their proposals. "If needed, the present government will have to amend the Constitution for the formation of an election-time government (which neither be caretaker nor apolitical)," said a written proposal of the party. The election-time government can be constituted with leaders from the registered political parties having representation in different non-controversial parliaments after the country's independence and the leaders cannot contest the election, the party said. Its other proposals are arranging a fair and neutral election with the participation of all, increasing the number of parliamentary constituencies and ensuring the voting rights of expatriates. The Commission on August 24 last started its dialogues with 40 registered political parties to take their opinions over the EC's preparation for the next general election.

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