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EC - govt sit today over expatriate voters PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 05 September 2008

Staff Correspondent

The Election Commission holds talks with top government officials on Thursday over its move to amend laws to register expatriate Bangladeshis as voters, an official said on Wednesday.

The EC officials will sit with secretaries to the foreign, home, expatriates welfare and law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministries, deputy secretary (election) Mihir Sarwar told bdnews24.com.
 
It plans to bring amendments to the Voter Listing Ordinance, 2007 and Voter Listing Regulations, 2008, he added.
 
"If amendments are brought to the ordinances the expatriate Bangladeshis and dual citizens of Bangladesh will not face any legal barrier to become voters," Sarwar said.
 
Two sub-sections would be added to the ordinances, the official added.
 
The draft amendment states that a Bangladeshi citizen staying abroad for a short period will be treated as a voter of the constituency where he would live in Bangladesh at the time of registration.
 
On the other hand, a Bangladeshi citizen, who holds dual citizenship in line with the Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions) Order 1972, will be registered as a voter following sub-section 2 of section 8 of Voter Listing Ordinance, 2007.
 
The section 8(2) says that if any person has wealth or dwelling house in more than one constituency he can be registered for any one constituency according to his wish.
 
The EC proposals would be sent to the interim cabinet for approval after Thursday's meeting, the EC officials said.
 
The commission will also include the procedure of registering the expatriate Bangladeshis in the voter listing provisions.
 
Registration procedure
 
The Bangladeshi embassies will send the application forms of the expatriate Bangladeshis and dual Bangladeshi citizens to the EC by preparing primary lists according to their permanent addresses.
 
The Commission will send the forms to the district registration officer. After scrutiny, the forms of the qualified voters will be sent back to the EC, who in turn will send voter forms to the embassies for the prospective voters to fill them out there.
 
The voters will need to submit the first five pages of their passports and two copies of stamp-size photographs attested by the embassy officials assigned for the work.
 
The embassies will send the forms, the photographs and copies of the passports to the EC.
 
The EC will enlist the voters through the district registration officers and send the receipts to the voters through the embassies.
 
However, after framing the new laws, the EC will register only a few expatriate Bangladeshis living in the UK for the upcoming national elections.
 
Election commissioners Muhammad Sohul Hussain and M Shakhawat Hussain travelled to the UK in November last year to examine the possibility to register expatriate Bangladeshis.

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