Cabinet okays draft of CEC, election commissioners’ appointment act

Publish: 5:50 PM, January 17, 2022 | Update: 5:50:PM, January 17, 2022

DHAKA,  – The Cabinet today approved the draft of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner Appointment Act, 2022 aiming to formulate a law as per the Constitution.

The approval came at the regular Cabinet meeting held at the Cabinet Room of the Jatiya Sangsad with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.

“Final approval was given today to adopt a law over appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners . . .,” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing the newsmen in the Bangladesh Secretariat after the meeting.

As per the proposed law, a search committee will be constituted taking approval from the president regarding forming the Election Commission, he said. He added, “The search committee will recommend the names of suitable candidates before the President to appoint the CEC and other election commissioners.”

Meanwhile, President Abdul Hamid has started a dialogue with registered political parties on December 20 last to discuss the issues related to the constitution of the Election Commission ahead of the 12th general election to be held at the end of 2023 or the early 2024.

Earlier, the last two election commissions, headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed and KM Nurul Huda, were constituted through the search committees formed by the president following his dialogues with the political parties. The president picked the CEC and four election commissioners in 2012 and 2017 from the names suggested by the search committee.

Besides, the Cabinet cleared the drafts of three laws –Jatiya Muktijoddha Council Act, 2022, Bangladesh Gas, Oil and Mineral Corporation Act, 2022 and Anti-Inequality Act, 2022 (Boishomya Birodhi Aiyen)- as well as the draft of National Salt Policy, 2022.

Talking about the qualifications of CEC and election commissioners, the Cabinet Secretary said they must be Bangladeshi citizens, be persons of at least 50 years old, and have at least a 20-year work experience in the important government, semi-government, private or judicial posts.

About the disqualifications, he said if a person is declared ‘insane’ by any court; has not been released from the jail after being declared as ‘bankrupt’; acquires the citizenship of or affirms the allegiance to, a foreign country surrendering Bangladeshi citizenship; has been convicted for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced to at least a two-year imprisonment; convicted by international crime tribunal; and is disqualified for such posts by or under any law, he or she would not be eligible for the post of CEC and election commissioners.

Explaining the last disqualification, he said if a person held the post of CEC once or the Chief Justice, he or she would not be eligible for the post of the CEC. But if a person held the post of election commissioner, he or she might be considered for appointment to the CEC.

In order to give legal protection to the constitution of previous election commissions, it would be considered that these were made under this law, he added.

Anwarul Islam hoped that it would not take much time to make the proposed law into an act. Explaining further about the search committee, he said a justice of the Appellate Division, nominated by the Chief Justice, will be the head of the six-member committee.

The five other members will be a justice of the High Court Division nominated by the Chief Justice, the Comptroller and Auditor General, the Chairman of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission, two other personalities nominated by the President.