EC to ease registration rules as parties demand
Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Staff Correspondent

The Election Commission will ease party registration rules, in response to demands by parties in the last round of electoral talks, the CEC said on Monday.

Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda told reporters at the EC Secretariat Monday that changes would be made to some sections of the recently amended Representation of the People Order.
 
However, the 9th Jatiya Sangsad election will be held under all new electoral laws and re-demarcated constituencies, he said.
 
The EC would stick to its earlier stand on provision for a "no" vote, and disallowing front organisations and foreign branches of political parties.
 
"However the rules of registration of the political parties will be made a little easier," said Huda.
 
Huda said two alternative options will be given in the rules for registration of political parties under the state of emergency.
 
"If the political parties feel it necessary to hold council the Election Commission and the government will give special permission for a gathering of 5,000 to 20,000 people."
 
"Or a temporary amendment may be made to the party constitution and submitted to the commission," said Huda, adding that the temporary constitution would have to be ratified within six months.
 
The CEC said a few small amendments would have to be made to the recently promulgated Representation of the People Order (amendment) Ordinance 2008.
 
Huda said loan defaulters would be given opportunity to pay their loans till the day before submission of nomination papers. Amendments would also be made regarding bill defaulters, housing and agricultural loan takers.
 
The ceiling on election expenses would also be amended, he said.
 
But, he stressed: "There is no scope to bypass the electoral reform programmes."
 
"We have brought about legal reforms through unanimity after dialogue with political parties, professional groups and individuals over the last one and a half years."
 
"The political parties will have to come forward leaving behind petty interests."
 
The CEC said: "We have done our part. Now is the time to prepare for the election. Nothing is in the hands of the commission now. The ball is in the court of the political parties. The political parties will have to play the game."
 
Chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed in his address to the nation Saturday announced the EC's dates of Dec 18 for parliamentary elections, and Dec 24 and 28 for upazila polls.
 
Replying to a question, the CEC said: "The chief adviser's announcement has proved that the Election Commission and the government want to hold a good election on the basis of consensus."
 
"It has also assured the people that we are determined to hold elections in December."
 
On upazila elections being held within seven days of the parliamentary polls, he said: "We have given the date as we know it is possible."
 
Election commissioners Muhammad Sohul Hossain and M Sakhawat Hossain, and EC secretary Muhammad Humayun Kabir were also present at Monday's press briefing.
 
The EC held three rounds of discussions on electoral laws and rules with 16 political parties from September 12, 2007 to September 20, 2008.

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