Here We Know About Company Law Matter of Bangladesh

শুক্রবার, ১৯ ফেব্রুয়ারী, ২০১০


Country Profile of Bangladesh:[1]
People's Republic of Bangladesh
Asia pacific
Description of government structure:
Chief of State: President Jillur Rahman
Head of Government: Prime Minister Shekh Hasina
Assembly: Bangladesh has a unicameral National Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) with 300 seats.
Description of electoral system:
The President is elected by parliament to serve a 5-year term.
In the National Parliament (Jatiya Sangsad), 300 members are elected by simple majority vote in single-member constituencies to serve 5-year terms.
Population: 147,365,352 (July 2006 est.)
Past elections
Parliamentary (Postponed) - January 2007
Parliamentary - October 1, 2001
Provisional government
The provisional government of the new nation of Bangladesh was formed in
Dhaka with Justice Abu Sayeed Choudhury as President, and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman ("Mujib")--who was released from Pakistani prison in early 1972--as Prime Minister.
1972-1975 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
Mujib came to office with immense personal popularity, but had difficulty transforming this popular support into the political strength needed to function as head of government. The new constitution, which came into force in December 1972, created a strong executive prime minister, a largely ceremonial presidency, an independent judiciary, and a unicameral legislature on a modified Westminster model. The 1972 constitution adopted as state policy the
Awami League's (AL) four basic principles of nationalism, secularism, socialism, and democracy.
The first parliamentary elections held under the 1972 constitution were in March 1973, with the Awami League winning a massive majority. No other political party in Bangladesh's early years was able to duplicate or challenge the League's broad-based appeal, membership, or organizational strength. Relying heavily on experienced civil servants and members of the Awami League, the new Bangladesh Government focused on relief, rehabilitation, and reconstruction of the economy and society. Economic conditions remained precarious, however. In December 1974, Mujib decided that continuing economic deterioration and mounting
civil disorder required strong measures. After proclaiming a state of emergency, Mujib used his parliamentary majority to win a constitutional amendment limiting the powers of the legislative and judicial branches, establishing an executive presidency, and instituting a one-party system, the Bangladesh Krishak Sramik Awami League (BAKSAL), which all members of Parliament were obliged to join.
Despite some improvement in the economic situation during the first half of 1975, implementation of promised political reforms was slow, and criticism of government policies became increasingly centered on Mujib. In August 1975, Mujib, and most of his family, were assassinated by mid-level army officers. His daughter,
Sheikh Hasina, happened to be out of the country. A new government, headed by former Mujib associate Khandakar Moshtaque, was formed.
1975-1981 Ziaur Rahman
Successive military coups resulted in the emergence of Army Chief of Staff Gen.
Ziaur Rahman ("Zia") as strongman. He pledged the army's support to the civilian government headed by President Chief Justice Sayem. Acting at Zia's behest, Sayem dissolved Parliament, promising fresh elections in 1977, and instituted martial law.
Acting behind the scenes of the
Martial Law Administration (MLA), Zia sought to invigorate government policy and administration. While continuing the ban on political parties, he sought to revitalize the demoralized bureaucracy, to begin new economic development programs, and to emphasize family planning. In November 1976, Zia became Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) and assumed the presidency upon Sayem's retirement 5 months later, promising national elections in 1978.
As President, Zia announced a 19-point program of economic reform and began dismantling the MLA. Keeping his promise to hold elections, Zia won a 5-year term in June 1978 elections, with 76% of the vote. In November 1978, his government removed the remaining restrictions on political party activities in time for parliamentary elections in February 1979. These elections, which were contested by more than 30 parties, marked the culmination of Zia's transformation of Bangladesh's Government from the MLA to a democratically elected, constitutional one. The AL and the
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), founded by Zia, emerged as the two major parties. The constitution was again amended to provide for an executive prime minister appointed by the president, and responsible to a parliamentary majority.
In May 1981, Zia was assassinated in
Chittagong by dissident elements of the military. The attempted coup never spread beyond that city, and the major conspirators were either taken into custody or killed. In accordance with the constitution, Vice President Justice Abdus Sattar was sworn in as acting president. He declared a new national emergency and called for election of a new president within 6 months--an election Sattar won as the BNP's candidate. President Sattar sought to follow the policies of his predecessor and retained essentially the same cabinet, but the army stepped in once again.
1982-1990 Hussain Mohammed Ershad
Army Chief of Staff Lt. Gen.
Hussain Mohammed Ershad assumed power in a bloodless coup in March 1982. Like his predecessors, Ershad suspended the constitution and--citing pervasive corruption, ineffectual government, and economic mismanagement--declared martial law. The following year, Ershad assumed the presidency, retaining his positions as army chief and CMLA. During most of 1984, Ershad sought the opposition parties' participation in local elections under martial law. The opposition's refusal to participate, however, forced Ershad to abandon these plans. Ershad sought public support for his regime in a national referendum on his leadership in March 1985. He won overwhelmingly, although turnout was small. Two months later, Ershad held elections for local council chairmen. Pro-government candidates won a majority of the posts, setting in motion the President's ambitious decentralization program. Political life was further liberalized in early 1986, and additional political rights, including the right to hold large public rallies, were restored. At the same time, the Jatiya (People's) Party, designed as Ershad's political vehicle for the transition from martial law, was established.
Despite a
boycott by the BNP, led by President Zia's widow, Begum Khaleda Zia, parliamentary elections were held on schedule in May 1986. The Jatiya Party won a modest majority of the 300 elected seats in the national assembly. The participation of the Awami League--led by the late Prime Minister Mujib's daughter, Sheikh Hasina Wazed--lent the elections some credibility, despite widespread charges of voting irregularities.
Ershad resigned as Army Chief of Staff and retired from military service in preparation for the presidential elections, scheduled for October. Protesting that martial law was still in effect, both the BNP and the AL refused to put up opposing candidates. Ershad easily outdistanced the remaining candidates, taking 84% of the vote. Although Ershad's government claimed a turnout of more than 50%, opposition leaders, and much of the foreign press, estimated a far lower percentage and alleged voting irregularities.
Ershad continued his stated commitment to lift martial law. In November 1986, his government mustered the necessary two-thirds majority in the national assembly to amend the constitution and confirm the previous actions of the martial law regime. The President then lifted martial law, and the opposition parties took their elected seats in the national assembly.
In July 1987, however, after the government hastily pushed through a controversial legislative bill to include military representation on local administrative councils, the opposition walked out of Parliament. Passage of the bill helped spark an opposition movement that quickly gathered momentum, uniting Bangladesh's opposition parties for the first time. The government began to arrest scores of opposition activists under the country's
Special Powers Act of 1974. Despite these arrests, opposition parties continued to organize protest marches and nationwide strikes. After declaring a state of emergency, Ershad dissolved Parliament and scheduled fresh elections for March 1988.
All major opposition parties refused government overtures to participate in these polls, maintaining that the government was incapable of holding free and fair elections. Despite the opposition
boycott, the government proceeded. The ruling Jatiya Party won 251 of the 300 seats. The Parliament, while still regarded by the opposition as an illegitimate body, held its sessions as scheduled, and passed a large number of bills, including, in June 1988, a controversial constitutional amendment making Islam Bangladesh's state religion.
By 1989, the domestic political situation in the country seemed to have quieted. The local council elections were generally considered by international observers to have been less violent and more free and fair than previous elections. However, opposition to Ershad's rule began to regain momentum, escalating by the end of 1990 in frequent
general strikes, increased campus protests, public rallies, and a general disintegration of law and order.
December 6, 1990, Ershad offered his resignation. On February 27, 1991, after 2 months of widespread civil unrest, an interim government oversaw what most observers believed to be the nation's most free and fair elections to date.
1991-1996 Khaleda Zia
The center-right BNP won a plurality of seats and formed a coalition government with the Islamic party
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh, with Khaleda Zia, widow of Ziaur Rahman, obtaining the post of Prime Minister. Only four parties had more than 10 members elected to the 1991 Parliament: The BNP, led by Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia; the AL, led by Sheikh Hasina; the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), led by Golam Azam; and the Jatiya Party (JP), led by acting chairman Mizanur Rahman Choudhury while its founder, former President Ershad, served out a prison sentence on corruption charges. The electorate approved still more changes to the constitution, formally re-creating a parliamentary system and returning governing power to the office of the prime minister, as in Bangladesh's original 1972 constitution. In October 1991, members of Parliament elected a new head of state, President Abdur Rahman Biswas.
In March 1994, controversy over a parliamentary by-election, which the opposition claimed the government had rigged, led to an indefinite
boycott of Parliament by the entire opposition. The opposition also began a program of repeated general strikes to press its demand that Khaleda Zia's government resign and a caretaker government supervise a general election. Efforts to mediate the dispute, under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat, failed. After another attempt at a negotiated settlement failed narrowly in late December 1994, the opposition resigned en masse from Parliament. The opposition then continued a campaign of Marches, demonstrations, and strikes in an effort to force the government to resign. The opposition, including the Awami League's Sheikh Hasina, pledged to boycott national elections scheduled for February 15, 1996.
In February, Khaleda Zia was re-elected for the second term by a landslide in voting boycotted and denounced as unfair by the three main opposition parties. In March 1996, following escalating political turmoil, the sitting Parliament enacted a constitutional amendment to allow a neutral caretaker government to assume power conduct new parliamentary elections; former Chief Justice
Mohammed Habibur Rahman was named Chief Advisor (a position equivalent to prime minister) in the interim government. New parliamentary elections were held in June 1996 and were won by the Awami League; party leader Sheikh Hasina became Prime Minister.
1996-2001 Sheikh Hasina
Sheikh Hasina formed what she called a "Government of National Consensus" in June 1996, which included one minister from the Jatiya Party and another from the
Jatiyo Samajtantric Dal, a very small leftist party. The Jatiya Party never entered into a formal coalition arrangement, and party president H.M. Ershad withdrew his support from the government in September 1997. Only three parties had more than 10 members elected to the 1996 Parliament: The Awami League, BNP, and Jatiya Party. Jatiya Party president, Ershad, was released from prison on bail in January 1997.
Although international and domestic election observers found the June 1996 election free and fair, the BNP protested alleged vote rigging by the Awami League. Ultimately, however, the BNP party decided to join the new Parliament. The BNP soon charged that police and Awami League activists were engaged in large-scale harassment and jailing of opposition activists. At the end of 1996, the BNP staged a parliamentary walkout over this and other grievances but returned in January 1997 under a four-point agreement with the ruling party. The BNP asserted that this agreement was never implemented and later staged another walkout in August 1997. The BNP returned to Parliament under another agreement in March 1998.
In June 1999, the BNP and other opposition parties again began to abstain from attending Parliament. Opposition parties have staged an increasing number of nationwide
general strikes, rising from 6 days of general strikes in 1997 to 27 days in 1999. A four-party opposition alliance formed at the beginning of 1999 announced that it would boycott parliamentary by-elections and local government elections unless the government took steps demanded by the opposition to ensure electoral fairness. The government did not take these steps, and the opposition has subsequently boycotted all elections, including municipal council elections in February 1999, several parliamentary by-elections, and the Chittagong city corporation elections in January 2000. The opposition demands that the Awami League government step down immediately to make way for a caretaker government to preside over paliamentary and local government.
2001-2006 Khaleda Zia
Khaleda lead four party aliiance win two third of total parliamentary seats while BAL wins only 62 seats that represent smallest opposition after 1991.Khaleda Zia won a second term in 2001. Her coalition included several Islamist parties, a fact which was criticized by those who feared post-9/11 Islamic radicalism and de-secularization in Bangladesh. Islamist violence targeting courts and imposing social strictures became a serious problem as Zia's term wore on. It came to a head in 2005 with the first suicide bombing and a coordinated bombing. This problem abated as two parties were outlawed and the leaders of the movement were rounded up.
2006-present caretaker government
An election was scheduled for the end of 2006, however it did not take place. The caretaker government was accused of BNP bias by Hasina and her coalition, who fomented nationwide protests and shutdowns. In January 2007, the head of the caretaker government stepped down, many believe under pressure from the military.
Fakhruddin Ahmed, former World Bank economist, was selected to replace him and has committed himself to rooting out corruption and preparing a better voter list. Emergency law was declared and a massive campaign to crack down on corruption is underway. By July 2007 some 200,000 people had been arrested. The government says it will hold elections before the end of 2008.
In April, Ahmed's administration attempted to reform the political parties by exiling Hasina and Zia, but they backed down amid domestic and international protestations. Hasina, who had been visiting her children in the US, was allowed to return but she faced serious charges, including involvement in the assassination of four political rivals. In July, she was taken into custody after two businessmen testified that she had extorted 80 million
taka (US$1.16 million) from them.[4] This provoked angry protests from her supporters; even her bitter rival Khalida Zia, as well as six British MPs and MEPs, called for her release.[5] Khaleda herself faces charges of tax evasion.
Elections in Bangladesh
gives information on
election and election results in Bangladesh.Bangladesh elects on national level a head of state - the president - and a legislature. The Jatiyo Sangshad has 330 members, 300 members elected for a five year term in single-seat constituencies. The president is elected by the National Parliament.
Bangladesh has an unofficial
two-party system, which means that there are two dominant political parties, with extreme difficulty for anybody to achieve electoral success under the banner of any other party.[4] The two major parties in Bangladesh are the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and Bangladesh Awami League. BNP finds its allies among Islamist parties like Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh while Awami League aligns itself traditionally with leftist and secularist parties. Another important player is the Jatiya Party, headed by former military ruler Hossain Mohammad Ershad. The Awami League-BNP rivalry has been bitter and punctuated by protests, violence and murder. Student politics is particularly strong in Bangladesh, a legacy from the liberation movement era. Almost all parties have highly active student wings, and students have been elected to the Parliament.
Two radical Islamist parties,
Jagrata Muslim Janata Bangladesh (JMJB) and Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), were banned in February 2005 by Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). Since then, a series of bomb attacks took place in the country and have been blamed on those groups, and hundreds of suspected members have been detained in numerous security operations, including the head the of those two parties in 2006. The first recorded case of a suicide bomb attack in Bangladesh took place in November 2005[5]

Summary of the 1 October 2001 Bangladesh
Jatiyo Sangshad election results
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal)
Bangladesh Awami League
Jatiya Party (Ershad)
Includes candidates of the
Islamic National Unity Front (Islami Jatiya Oikya Front)
Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh
Jatiya Party (Naziur)
Islami Oikya Jote
Krishak Shramik Janata League
Jatiya Party (Manju)
Non-partisan and others

Total (turnout 74.9 %)
Rejected votes

PART VII (art 118-126) of the Bangladesh constitution details descried about Election in Bangladesh[6]



Establishment of Election Commission
Functions of Election Commission

Staff of Election Commission

Single electoral roll for each constituency

Qualifications for registration as voter

Time for holding elections

Parliament may make provision as to elections

Validity of election law and elections

Executive authorities to assist Election Commission

Establishment of Election Commission

(1) There shall an Election Commission for Bangladesh consisting of a Chief Election Commissioner and such number of other Election Commissioners, if any as the President may from time to time direct, and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election commissioners (if any) shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf, be made by the President.
(2) When the Election Commission consists of more than one person, the Chief Election Commissioner shall act as the chairman thereof.
(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the term of office of an Election Commissioner shall be five years from the date on which he enters upon his office, and-
(a) a person who has held office as Chief Election Commissioner shall not be eligible for appointment in the service of the Republic;
(b) any other election Commissioner shall, on ceasing to hold office as such, be eligible for appointment as Chief Election Commissioner but shall not be otherwise eligible for appointment in the service of the Republic.
(4) The Election Commission shall be independent in the exercise of its functions and subject only to this Constitution and any other law.
(5) Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the conditions of service of Election Commissioners shall be such as the President may, by order, determine:
Provided that an Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a judge of the
72[Supreme Court.]
(6) An Election Commissioner may resign his office by writing under his hand address to the President.
Functions of Election Commission

73[(1) The superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the election rolls for elections to the office or President and to Parliament and the conduct of such elections shall vest in the Election Commission which shall, in accordance with his Constitution and any other law-
(a) hold elections to the office of President;
(b) hold elections of members of Parliament;
(c) delimit the constituencies for thepurpose of elections to Parliament; and
(d) Prepare electroral roles for the purpose of elections to the office of President and to Parliament.
(2) The Election Commission shall perform such functions, in addition to those specified in the foregoing clauses, as may be prescribed by this Constitution or by any other law.
Staff of Election Commission

The President shall, when so requested by the Election Commission, make available to it such staff as may be necessary for the discharge of its functions under this Part.
Single electoral roll for each constituency

There shall be one electoral roll for each constituency for the purposes of elections to Parliament, and no special electoral roll shall be prepared so as to classify electors according to religion, race caste or sex.
Qualifications for registration as voter

(1) The elections
74 * * * * to Parliament shall be on the basis of adult franchise.
(2) A person shall be entitled to be enrolled on the electoral roll for a constituency delimited the purpose of election to Parliament, if he-
(a) is a citizen of Bangladesh;
(b) is not less than eighteen years of age;
(c) does not stand declared by a competent court to be of unsound mind;
(d) is or is deemed by law to be a resident of that constituency
76[. ] 77 * * * * * * 78 * * * * * *
Time for holding elections

79[(1) In the case of a vacancy in the office of President occurring by reason of the expiration of his term of office an election to fill the vacancy shall be half within the period of ninety to sixty days prior to the date of expiration of the term:
Provided that if the term expires before the dissolution of the Parliament by members of which he was elected the election to fill the vacancy shall not be held until after the next general election of members of Parliament, but shall be held within thirty days after the first sitting of Parliament following such general election.
(2) In the case of a vacancy in the office of President occurring by reason of the death, resignation or removal of the President, an election to fill the vacancy shall be held within the period of ninety days after the occurrence of the vacancy.]
79a [(3) A general election of members of Parliament shall be held within ninety days after Parliament is dissolved, whether by reason of the expiration of its term or otherwise than by reason of such expiration.]
(4) An election to fill the seat of a member of Parliament which falls vacant otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of Parliament shall be helf within ninety days of the occurrence of the vacancy [:]
80[Provided that in a case where, in the opinion of the Chief Election Commissioner, it is not possible, for reasons of an act of God, to hold such election within the period specified in this clause, such election shall be held within ninety days following next after the last day of such period.]
Parliament may make provision as to elections

Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, Parliament may by law make provision with respect to all matters relating to or in connection with election to Parliament, including the delimitation of constituencies, the preparation of electoral rolls, the holding of elections, and all other matters necessary for securing the due Constitution of Parliament.]
Validity of election law and elections

Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution-
(a) the validity of any law relating to the delimitation of constituencies, or the allotment of seats to such constituencies, made or purporting to be made under article 124, shall not be called in question in any court;
(b) no election to the
82[offices of President 83 * *] or to Parliament shall be called in question except by an election petition presented to such authority and in such manner as may be provided for by or under any law made by Parliament.
Executive authorities to assist Election Commission

It shall be the duty of all executive authorities to assist the Election Commission in the discharge of its functions.

Electoral Reform: Parliamentary Elections;
Parliamentary elections are covered by the Representation of the People Order which was enacted in 1972. Since then many amendments have been made to this law. In the past, concerns were raised in the manner elections were conducted. Money, muscle and misuse of power became the norms in the past and people genuinely longed for a free, fair and credible election from the Bangladesh Election Commission. There were demands for reforming the system. The Bangladesh Election Commission after its reconstitution in February 2007 assessed the situation and decided to start a process of electoral reforms. The Commission reviewed various research papers, documents, press reports and other materials available on this subject and prepared a list of refrom agenda on the basis of which a draft was prepared. The BEC decided to solicit stakeholders opinion on the proposed amendments and a series of meetings were organised. The first such meeting was held on 26-04-2007 in the NEC Auditorium with representatives of the civil society organisations, eminent persons etc. Another meeting was held on 23-05-2007 with editors, senior journalists and members of the media. Finally, a series of meeting are underway with the political parties. The draft proposals have been reviewed at length and a number of changes have been made in the meanwhile. The links below provide documents (briefing papers/press releases/draft act) issued by the BEC from time to time on RPO or related issues.
Electoral Reforms: Local Elections
Laws governing the local bodies are administered by the Local Government Division under the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. There are several such laws relating to elections of Union Parishads- the lowest tier in the local government body, Pourashavas (municipaities) and City Corporations. Copies of these laws are made available in this site. Recently, the Caretaker Government constituted a Commission to review the local government system. The Commission has already submitted its report. The report contains draft of a new law that incorporate, among others, matters relating to election. If these recommendations are accepted by the government, significant change would occur in the way elections are held at the local level. This site would make them available as and when those laws are enacted.
Jatiyo Sangshad
Jatiyo Sangshad (
Bangla: জাতীয় সংসদ Jatio Shôngshod) or National Assembly is the national parliament of Bangladesh. The current parliament of Bangladesh contains 330 seats including 30 women reserved seats distributed on elected party position in the parliament, the occupants of which are called Members of Parliament or MPs. The last national election was October 1, 2001 and, under normal conditions, elections are called every five years.The leader of the party (or alliance of parties) holding the majority of seats is the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, and so the head of the government. The President of Bangladesh, who is the ceremonial head of state, is chosen by Parliament.The parliament itself is housed in the Jatiyo Sangshad Bhaban (জাতীয় সংসদ ভবন Jatio Shôngshod Bhôbon), an architectural masterpiece designed by Louis Kahn.
political parties in Bangladesh
Parliamentary parties
Bangladesh Islamic Assembly (Jamaat-e-Islami Bangladesh)
Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bangladesh Jatiyatabadi Dal)
Bangladesh Awami League
Islamic Unity Front (Islami Oikya Jote)
National Party (Jatiya Party)
Islamic National Unity Front (Islami Jatiya Oikya Front)
National Party (Manju) (Jatiya Dal (Manju))
National Party (Naziur) (Jatiya Dal (Naziur))
Peasants' and Workers' People's League (Krishak Sramik Janata League)
Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish
Jatiyo Shomajtantrik Dal-JSD
Liberal Democratic Party
Jatiyo Shomajtantrik Dal
Other parties
Communist Party of Bangladesh
Socialist Party of Bangladesh (SPB)
Gonoshanghhoti Andolon
Hizb ut-Tahrir
Bangladesh Chhatra League - Student wing of the Awami League
Directory: Election Laws
Election Laws The purpose of election laws include proper holding of elections, explaining the proper conduct expected from candidates and the people working on their behalf, and ensuring punishment to those who violate the legal provisions. The provision for an election commission was kept in the constitution framed in 1972 after the emergence of Bangladesh. According to Article 118 of the Constitution, the president appoints the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners. According to the Constitution and law, the Election Commission is independent in the discharge of its duties. According to Article 119 of the Constitution, the responsibility of supervision and preparation of voters' list, the direction, control and conduct of elections lie with the Election Commission. Representation of the People Order 1972, The Conduct of Election Rules 1972, and the Code of Conduct 1996 have been framed for fixing the procedures to be followed and the measures to be undertaken by the Election Commission. The election laws comprise of all these orders, rules and regulations. Representation of the People Order, 1972 According to the provisions of article 3 of this order, the Election Commission would determine its own procedures. According to article
5, the Election Commission can direct any individual or authority to discharge responsibility or render assistance as per its requirement. If an official or a member of law enforcing agency involved in election duty obstructs fair and neutral election or does something to influence the result of the election, the Election Commission can relieve them from their election duty at any time and may direct the relevant higher authority to take disciplinary action. According to article 7 of the Order, the Election Commission can appoint one Returning Officer and necessary numbers of Assistant Returning Officers for election of members of the jatiya sangsad in one or more than one constituencies. The Returning Officer is given responsibility to take necessary measures for conducting elections according to rules. The Assistant Returning Officers are also empowered to discharge the responsibility of a Returning Officer under his supervision. Article 9 speaks about constitution of a panel for appointing election officers. Article 11 empowers the Election Commission to issue notification to fix the dates for submission and scrutiny of nomination papers. Article 12(1) describes the qualifications required for contesting in the elections for membership of the Jatiya Sangsad. Article 13 provides for submission of a fixed amount of security deposit by the candidate or his nominated representative. Article 14 empowers the Returning Officer to scrutinise the nomination papers. Article 14(5) provides scope for appeal to the Election Commission against rejection of nomination papers by the Returning Officer within the prescribed time; the verdict of the Election Commission is final on the matter. Article 15 provides for publication of list of validly nominated candidates. According to articles 16(1) and 16(2), any validly nominated candidate can withdraw his candidature within the prescribed period through notice in writing signed by him.Article 17(1) provides for cancellation of election in a relevant constituency due to the death of a candidate. Article 19 stipulates the conditions for getting elected uncontested. Article 20 provides for allocation of symbols according to the preferences of the candidates in a constituency. According to article 20(2), the Returning Officer has to exhibit prominently at each polling station the name and symbol of each contesting candidate. Articles 21(1) and 21(2) provide for appointment of election agent and polling agent respectively by the candidate. Article 27(2) provides for casting of votes by postal ballot by a person referred to in sub-section (2), (3) or (4) of section 8 of the Electoral Rolls Ordinance, 1982 or by a person appointed for performing election duty. Article 37 provides for consolidation of the results in the prescribed manner, and article 37(5) provides for recounting of valid ballot papers. According to article 39(1), the Returning Officer has to declare the name of the elected candidate through a public notice. According to subsection (1) of article 44(a), every contesting candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer, within seven days following the date of withdrawal, a statement in the prescribed form on the probable sources of fund to meet his election expenses. According to subsection (3) of article 44(b), the limit of a candidate's election expense has been fixed at taka 3 lakh. According to article 44(c), every election agent of a contesting candidate shall, within fifteen days after the publication of the name of the returned candidate, submit to the Returning Officer a return of election expenses in the prescribed form. Article 49(1) provides for submission of an election petition by a contesting candidate regarding the validity of election. Article 73 stipulates punishment for corrupt practices, and describes corrupt practices as contravention of articles 44(a) and 44(b), accepting bribe, impersonation, exerting undue influence, creating hindrances, making or publishing false statement concerning the personal character of a candidate, or relating to the symbol of candidature, or regarding the withdrawal of candidature, calling upon or persuading any person to vote or to refrain from voting for any candidate on the ground that he belongs to a particular religion, community, race, caste, sect or tribe, knowingly, in order to support or oppose a candidate, lets, lends, employs, hires, borrows or uses any vehicle, and causes or attempts to cause any person waiting to vote at the polling station to depart without voting. Article 74 explains illegal practices, and stipulates maximum punishment of 7 and minimum 2 years in addition to fines for these offences. Article 78 bans convening, holding or attending any public meeting or procession within the area of any constituency during a period of forty-eight hours ending at midnight following the conclusion of the poll. If this provision is violated, maximum and minimum punishment of 7 and 2 years respectively along with fine can be imposed according to article 78(2). Article 81(1) stipulates a maximum punishment of 10 years and a minimum of 3 years along with fine (cognizable offence) for ballot theft, false voting, breaking of seal, hindering holding of election, etc. Article 84 stipulates that if an official or a member of law enforcing agency engaged in election duty works for or against a candidate, he can be punished with maximum 5 years and minimum 1 year imprisonment along with fine (cognizable offence). Article 86 stipulates that if a person misuses his official position in a manner calculated to influence the result of the election, he is punishable with imprisonment of maximum five years and minimum one year along with fine. According to article 91, the Election Commission may stop the polls at any polling station at any stage of the election if it is convinced that it shall not be able to ensure the conduct of the election justly, fairly and in accordance with law due to malpractice, including coercion, intimidation and pressures prevailing at the election. Article 91(b) stipulates that the Election Commission shall establish a committee to ensure the prevention and control of pre-poll irregularities, to be known as the Electoral Inquiry Committee. Composed of judicial officers, this committee would conduct inquiries before the holding of election, and make recommendations to the Election Commission. Election Officials (Special Provision) Act, 1991
This Act was promulgated for discipline and control of election officials in order to ensure free, fair and neutral elections. The Election Officials (Special Provision) Ordinance, 1990 (Ordinance No. 31 of 1990) was repealed through this Act. Section 4 of this Act sets out the service conditions and regulation of election officials. Notable features of this Act are: If a person is appointed an election official, he can not express his inability to discharge his duty without grounds acceptable to the Election Commission or in some cases the Returning Officer. He would be considered as serving on deputation from the date of appointment till his release from election duty. Section 5 of this Act provides for punishment of election officials on disciplinary grounds. If any election official intentionally fails to carry out any election-related order or directive of the Election Commission or the Returning Officer, as the case may be, or if he violates any legal provision related to election, that would be treated as misconduct, and that misconduct would be considered as a punishable offence according to service rules.
The Conduct of Election Rules, 1972 The government framed these rules in consultation with the Election Commission in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 94 of the Representation of the People Order, 1972. Section 5 of these rules provides scope for appeal against rejection of nomination paper by the Returning Officer. Section 6 describes the process of publication of the list of validly nominated candidates. Section 7 describes the process of declaration of the list of contesting candidates along with their symbols following the date of withdrawal. Section 8 describes the process of declaration of results of an uncontested election after scrutiny, and section 9 lists the prescribed symbols. Sections 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 describe the process of preparing ballot papers, issuance of postal ballot papers, recording of votes on postal ballot papers, assistance to illiterate or infirm electors, casting vote by postal ballot, reissue and return of postal ballot. Sections 15(a) describes the process of recording ballot boxes, 16 and 17 the marking of ballot papers, and 18 insertion of ballot papers. Sections 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 and 25 dwells on challenged votes, stray ballot papers, count on close of poll, statement of the count by the Presiding Officer, consolidation of results and return of election. Section 26 describes public inspection of documents. The Code of Conduct, 1996 The Code of Conduct 1996 has been framed by the Election Commission as per powers conferred upon it by Section 91(b) of the Representation of the People Order 1972. According to section 3 of this Code, although overall development plan can be put forward by the concerned political parties, they are not allowed to pledge any toll or grant to any institution in the constituency, as well as the undertaking of any development project after the announcement of election schedule. Section 5 says: (i) Political parties and candidates will have equal rights in matters of election campaign. Nobody is allowed to spoil or obstruct the meeting, procession or any other publicity of a rival; (ii) No public meeting hindering the movement of the people can be held without the sanction of appropriate authority; (iii) After the declaration of the election schedule, no party or political party or anybody acting on their behalf can use government machinery, government officers or employees or government transport for election purpose, and would refrain from using state facilities; (iv) Posters used in election campaign should be black and white in locally produced paper, and its size can not be more than 22'' ´ 18'' under any circumstances; (v) All should refrain from writing on walls as part of the election campaign. Section 6 stipulates that the election can not be influenced through money, arms, muscle or local power. Section 7 says that only the election officials, candidates, election agents and voters would be eligible to enter the polling centre. Only the polling agents would discharge their responsibility seating in the seats reserved for them. Section 8 says that any violation of these rules would be treated as pre-election irregularity, and any person or political party adversely affected by that irregularity can submit petition to the Electoral Inquiry Committee or the Election Commission seeking redress. If the petition appears substantive to the Election Commission, the Commission would send the petition to any Electoral Inquiry Committee for investigation. In both the cases, the Electoral Inquiry Committee would send recommendations to the Commission after carrying out investigation according to the provisions of Representation of the People Order 1972 (President's Order No. 155 of 1972).
Bangladesh - News Archive
Landmark Elections in Bangladesh Remain in Doubt
Posted: 11/20/2008The prospects for Bangladesh's long-awaited parliamentary elections remain in doubt, after the government refused to meet the demands of the key Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The BNP had previously threatened to boycott the poll, the country's first democratic election in seven years, arguing that it and allied parties needed more time to prepare. However, BNP leader and former Prime Minister Khaleda ZIA announced her party would participate in the poll, provided that the election is pushed back ten days to December 28. One of the country's two principal political parties, the BNP won two-thirds of the seats in parliament in the last elections in 2001. Consequently, many might strongly question the legitimacy of this year's election were the BNP to boycott it. On Thursday, the government indicated that intended to hold elections as planned on December 18.
Source: ElectionGuide
Ex-PM Hasina followers win Bangladesh local vote
Posted: 08/04/2008DHAKA (Reuters) - Unofficial results from local elections in Bangladesh showed that followers of former prime minister Sheikh Hasina won almost all the positions in a free, fair and peaceful vote, poll officials said.
Bangladesh voters' lists 'ready'
Posted: 07/22/2008Bangladesh's Election Commission says it has completed the registration of voters ahead of December's general elections.
Bangladesh Adopts New Electoral Rules
Posted: 07/15/2008On Sunday, Bangladeshi authorities announced the adoption of new electoral rules, which it argues will pave the way to a free and fair vote before the end of the year. In particular, the new rules require political parties to register to take part in the elections and provide voters the option to reject all candidates on their ballot in the event they think that none are suitable. The previous rules allowed unregulated participation by political parties, which some parties abused as a way to dilute the vote of rival parties. The new rules also mandate that candidates contest only three seats simultaneously, down from five under previous rules. Other changes include a ban on political parties' operating separate student and/or labor fronts and overseas units, and a requirement for new elections to be held for any office for which more than 50 percent of voters reject all candidates on the ballot.
Source: ElectionGuide
Nearly 12,000 Are Arrested in Bangladesh
Posted: 06/04/2008Political parties have denounced the roundup as a ploy to clamp down on political activity, as Bangladesh prepares for national elections in December.
Vote reform talks in Bangladesh
Posted: 09/12/2007The army-backed authorities in Bangladesh begin talks with political parties on electoral law reforms.
Call for Bangladesh poll schedule
Posted: 04/04/2007The US Ambassador to Bangladesh calls for a timetable for the restoration of democracy in the country.
Bangladesh poll officials resign
Posted: 01/31/2007All five election commissioners in Bangladesh resign after months of protests over alleged vote-rigging.

Troops enforce Bangladesh order
Posted: 01/12/2007Soldiers are enforcing a national state of emergency in Bangladesh imposed by the president.
Parliament elections indefinitely postponed
Posted: 01/12/2007Following weeks of violent protests and resignation demands from the Awami League-led alliance, President Iajuddin AHMED stepped down on January 11 from his position as head of the interim caretaker government charged with overseeing national elections this month. Former central bank governor Fakhruddin AHMED was appointed as head of a new interim government which is to be formed in the next days. President AHMED also agreed to postpone the much controversial January 22 poll in order to allow for a revision of the voter list, one of the opposition's key demands. No new election date has been announced yet.
Source: ElectionGuide
Clashes spread as blockade paralyzes Bangladesh
Posted: 01/08/2007DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh's army chief was summoned to the presidential palace on Monday following a day of renewed clashes between police and political activists two weeks before parliamentary elections.
Bangladesh polls to go ahead despite Hasina boycott
Posted: 01/04/2007DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh will go ahead with planned parliamentary elections this month despite a decision by a mainstream political alliance to boycott it, election officials said on Thursday.
Poll boycott called in Bangladesh
Posted: 01/03/2007Bangladesh's main opposition party and its allies say they will boycott the upcoming parliamentary election.
Uncertainty clouds Bangladesh poll participants
Posted: 12/27/2006DHAKA (Reuters) - Participation of all major parties in Bangladesh's upcoming election was thrown into uncertainty on Wednesday after a key ally of strong contender Sheikh Hasina threatened to boycott the poll.
Clashes in Bangladeshi capital
Posted: 12/21/2006Troops and riot police clash with protestors in the Bangladeshi capital demanding electoral reform.
Election date moved to January 23 2006
Posted: 12/07/2006On December 7, the Election Commission of Bangladesh moved the date of the next parliamentary election from January 21 to January 23, 2007. Six days after the announcement, the two major parties, the Awami League and the former ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), demanded that the Election Commission change the new date as it coincides with a festival of the Hindu community. The Election Commission has said it will revise the date after consultations with both parties. The Bangladeshi constitution provides for general elections within 90 days from the dissolution of the Parliament which occurred on October 28, thus making January 25 the absolute deadline for new elections.
Source: ElectionGuide
Bangladesh in turmoil as election divides deepen
Posted: 12/06/2006DHAKA (Reuters) - Hopes for an end to pre-election turmoil in Bangladesh dimmed on Wednesday as rival political groups again took to the streets and the country's legal system was virtually paralyzed by feuding lawyers.

Election Date announcement sparks more protests and violence in Bangladesh
Posted: 11/30/2006On November 27, Bangladesh's election commission set January 21, 2007 as the date for the next general election. The Awami League party and its 14 party political alliance have rejected the announcement requesting a delay to the schedule until alleged biased election commission officials are removed from office and the voters' list is updated. Since late October, protests and violence have erupted throughout the country over the alliance's demand for electoral reform. One day after the announcement, a fire broke out in two election commission offices, raising suspicion that supporters of the Awami League-led alliance are to blame. On November 30, 40,000 protesters circled the presidential palace demanding President Iajuddin AHMED's resignation due to his failure to remove the controversial election commission officials.
Source: ElectionGuide
Bangladesh protesters set fire to election offices
Posted: 11/28/2006DHAKA (Reuters) - Political activists set fire to two election commission offices in Bangladesh on Tuesday, as a 14-party alliance began a new campaign to force the ouster of top election officials.
Bangladesh poll date set, protesters near palace
Posted: 11/27/2006DHAKA (Reuters) - Bangladesh's election commission announced a date for parliamentary elections -- against the wishes of the opposition's political alliance, which accuses the panel of being biased.
Bangladesh may be close to ending political crisis
Posted: 11/21/2006DHAKA (Reuters) - The political crisis gripping Bangladesh could soon be resolved, officials said on Tuesday, although one person was killed and almost 130 wounded in continuing clashes over demands to oust election officials.
Bangladeshi Parliament Votes to Increase Seats Reserved for Women
Posted: 05/17/2004On May 16, the Bangladeshi parliament (Jatiya Sangsad) passed an amendment to the constitution which will increase the number of seats reserved for women representatives from 30 to 45. The provision for 30 seats had lapsed in 2001 with no action taken up till now to extend this provision. This new provision will increase the size of parliament from 300 to 345 seats. The 45 seats for women will be distributed according to political parties' vote proportions in the last parliamentary election. Opposition parties are opposed to this method of distribution of seats and have urged direct elections for these 45 seats.
Bangladesh's Awami League Take Back Their Seats in Parliament
Posted: 06/24/2002Members of the Awami League, the leading opposition party in Bangladesh, have taken their seats in parliament after boycotting the assembly for eight months following the October 2001 elections. The Awami League had been soundly defeated by the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP) in the election, and had charged the BNP with fraud.
Members of Bengali Opposition Party to Resign
Posted: 03/18/2002The opposition Awami League announced that all 58 of its members of parliament will resign on March 14, 2002. The Awami League has charged that the ruling Bangladesh National Party (BNP) rigged the October 2001 parliamentary elections. International observers described the elections as free and fair.
Bangladesh Announces Results of Parliamentary Elections
Posted: 10/05/2001The Election Commission stated that the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) won 185 of the 283 declared seats after the October 1, 2001, parliamentary election. The outgoing prime minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League claimed 63 seats

Voter and ID Registration
In August 2008, the BEC began its drive to register the Urdu-speaking communities in the settlements around Dhaka. This is an important first step towards integrating these minority communities into Bangladeshi society. Over several long days and through weekend hours, BEC “enumerators” took forms door to door, registering hundreds of people each day. One enumerator found the work “very satisfying because everyone was so cooperative.” After a person was registered for voting, he or she was instructed on where and when to report for national ID registration.
Countrywide registration for national IDs is overseen by the military, one of the few institutions with the infrastructure to carry out such an endeavor. “This would not have been possible without the military,” one UN official said. Despite these efforts, the majority of Urdu speakers are unlikely to be registered in time for the elections. Some suggested that the Election Commission should have pursued a more robust information campaign in the camps prior to the drive or extended the period for registering. However, according to the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), those unable to register during the drive may go to other registration centers year-round.
A national ID is said to give access to as many as 22 social services, but the Urdu speakers’ reactions to the process ranged from positive to uncertain. Several parents felt the ID card would facilitate their children’s admission to schools and access to jobs. One woman noted that her children would not be harassed when traveling in rural areas. Others had unconfirmed concerns that obtaining a national ID card could lead to eviction from the camps. Another stated, “We will just have to wait and see if [the ID card] brings us any benefit.”
Continued Misery in the Camps
recognition has left around 200,000 Urdu-speaking people living in abject poverty and vulnerable to discrimination. Living conditions remain overcrowded, with 5 to 15 people sharing one or two rooms. The threat of eviction and the need for education, skills training, and employment are chief concerns. Geneva Camp, one of the largest camps in Dhaka at 35,000, has only one non-governmental school available to 371 students. There is only one health clinic for the camp, staffed by volunteers and focused primarily on maternal health. Up until now, camp residents have been excluded from public sector jobs. Some camps have only one latrine per 3,000 people and garbage collection is irregular.
Ensuring Support for Integration
The High Court judgment and the voter and national ID registration processes have created momentum to overcome nearly four decades of the Urdu speakers’ political and socio-economic marginalization. But with serious political challenges and widespread poverty, the Bangladesh Government and donors are reluctant to target aid to this community. Such a policy misses the point of the High Court judgment, which noted the “miseries and sufferings of such people due to statelessness,” and that “they are constantly denied their constitutional rights.” The court stated:
“By keeping the question of citizenship unresolved on wrong assumption over the decades, this nation has not gained anything rather was deprived of the contribution [the Urdu speakers] could have made in nation-building. The sooner [they] are brought to the mainstream the better.”
Deliberate neglect of a community’s rights warrants speedy integration. To overcome ingrained habits of neglect by the government and the international community, ensuring the Urdu speakers’ equal rights as citizens will require conscious attention to the community’s challenges.
Recognizing Urdu speakers’ citizenship rights strikes at the heart of Bangladesh’s national identity, which, through Partition and the Liberation War, sought to distinguish itself from India and Pakistan. Incorporating a minority group with connections to these regions would signal confidence in where Bangladesh now stands and would improve the outlook for other minorities in the country, all foundations for a successful democratic transition. As stated by a lawyer involved in the May 2008 case, “If you give them some support, they will be excellent citizens.”
Eighty million registered
If Bangladesh's elections are to be truly democratic, the electoral register not only should be free from error but should be reflective of the electorate as a whole.
For this year's elections teams of officials travelled across the country, registering people who previously had been left out of the voting system. Amongst those captured were inhabitants of the isolated Char islands, ethnic and religious minorities, the disabled, hospital patients and even people in prison.
This work was supported by the efforts of local non-governmental organisations (NGOs), who went into hard-to-reach communities to raise awareness of voting and motivate people to use their votes.
Spreading the message through ralllies, loudspeakers on the back of pushbikes, eye-catching banners and leafleting campaigns, their words certainly hit home. At its peak, 500,000 people were registering every day and, by the end of June, there were 80 million names on the new electoral roll

Bangladesh pictures a better voting process
A new way of registering Bangladesh's voters will ensure that, when the country goes to the ballot box, democracy is always the winner.
Rather than just recording voters' names, the new voter roll also carries their photographs, guaranteeing that one person gets only one vote and that the face of the person casting that vote is the same as the one on the roll.
This innovation is part of a range of DFID-supported reforms in advance of Bangladesh's 2008 elections. In addition to changes to the registration process, work has been carried out to get groups traditionally left out of elections to exercise their democratic right and, at long last, cast their votes.

Fingerprints, photos and signatures
When registering for this year's elections, people have been asked to pose for a mugshot and provide fingerprints and signatures. This "biometric" data is then transferred to a central computer for quick and easy reference on polling day.The aim is to improve the accuracy of the electoral roll and stamp out practices such as registering for additional votes and the theft of other people's votes - common electoral crimes that seriously undermine democracy in Bangladesh.In January 2007, for example, national elections collapsed in scenes of violence two weeks before they were due, after a voter roll was published containing more than 21 million wrong or duplicate names. The Election Commission was shown to have failed in one of its most fundamental duties and the credibility of the elections was destroyed.
Bangladesh general election, 2008
A general election is scheduled to be held in
Bangladesh on 29 December 2008, after being postponed from the original date of 18 December 2008. They were originally scheduled for 21 January 2007, but postponed by two days due to demands by the opposition made in December 2006. They were put back by one day to 22 January and subsequently postponed for an extended period due to opposition protests and boycott threats.Riots erupted in October 2006 as the government of outgoing Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and her Bangladesh National Party was to turn over power to a caretaker government of MK Hasan. At least three people died as thousands of demonstrators gathered on the streets in numerous towns; the opposition objected to Hasan because it felt he was too close to the BNP. President Iajuddin Ahmed became head of the caretaker government instead, but he was also opposed by Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina and her allies, who accused him of favoring Zia. On 3 January 2007, Hasina announced that the Awami League and its allies would boycott the election, but the Election Commission stated that the election would be held regardless of the boycott. From January 4 to January 7, 2007 public protests were held to reach electoral reform; these protests brought the capital, Dhaka, to a standstill, and led to a state of emergency being declared on January 11, 2007 by Ahmed, who stepped down as chief advisor a few hours later. He also said that the elections would be delayed, and that Fazlul Haque would become acting chief adviser until Ahmed appointed a new chief adviser within a few days. Later on the same day, Fakhruddin Ahmed was appointed as the new chief adviser. This was considered by many to be a coupNobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus subsequently announced the foundation of a new party called Citizens' Power. He has since rejected entering politics, claiming a lack of support.
On April 5, 2007, the county's chief election official declared that the elections would need to be pushed back at least eighteen months. Subsequently, on April 12, Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed announced in a televised speech to the nation that the next parliamentary election would be held before the end of 2008. On July 15, 2007 the Election Commission of Bangladesh published a roadmap for the election, promising a compilation of voter lists by October 2008 and an official election call before the end of that year.
After the election, the parliament
will have to elect the next President of Bangladesh; this should have taken place by 5 September 2007, when Iajuddin Ahmed's term expired, but was postponed due to the lack of an elected parliament. On September 9, 2007 Fakhruddin Ahmed addressed the nation and recalled indoor politics with strict conditions to facilitate preparation for the election and reaffirmed his commitment to hold the election on time or earlier. In early October, the Chief Electoral Commissioner stated elections could be held by October 2008, if the electoral roll could be compiled by July 2008. It was announced on 18 February 2008 that for the first time in the history of Bangladesh, prisoners will also be allowed to vote. Talks with two smaller parties started on 22 May 2008, and the interim government stated it would hold talks with all parties in short time. However, both the Awami League and the BNP declined to attend these talks as long as their leaders were still detained. Voters lists were announced to be ready on 22 July 2008. On 4 August 2008, local elections were held in a few places; they were decisively won by the Awami League. Chief Adviser Ahmed announced on 21 September that the general election would be held on 18 DecemberThe BNP called for a delay of the election until January 2009, while the AL was against such a delay; as a compromise, the election was delayed from 18 December to 29 December.[14]
No Election in Bangladesh in Near Future
The crisis-ridden political situation in Bangladesh has reached from one extreme to another extreme. On January 11, last, President Yajuddin Ahmed declared a state of Emergency in the country banning all open activities on the political and trade Union fronts, proclaimed censorship on news media, and also deployed the army all over the country. The President also resigned from his forcibly occupied post of the Chief Advisor to the Interim Prime Minister of the Care-taker government, an office was assumed flouting all norms and conventions and on the next day appointed Dr Fakruddin Ahmed, the former Governor of the Bangladesh Bank, the State Bank of Bangladesh, to the post of the Chief Advisor to the care-taker government. The state of Emergency was proclaimed at a time when the 14-party Alliance led by the Awami League and the Bangladesh Workers Party, their allies, the Zatiya Party, the Liberal democratic party and the Bangladesh Communist Party, launched a program of blockading the office of the President. They lay continuous siege on the whole of the country through the ongoing nationwide strike to resist the unilateral decision to hold elections to the Parliament on January 22. This resulted in a highly explosive situation of boiling rage and restlessness. The former Coalition government of Bangladesh of the Nationalist Party (BNP) and Jamat-e-Islami, the Islami fundamentalists had already chalked out the entire blueprint for once again capturing power through an engineered election. The BNP-Jamat coalition government led by Khaleda Zia had already appointed people of their own parties to the posts of Election Commissioners and Returning Officers for the Parliamentary constituencies, and even to the posts of Presiding Officers and Polling Officers, so that the election could be rigged in their favor. The Election Commissioners loyal to the Coalition government had already prepared a voter list which allegedly included the names of 1 crore, 40 lakh fake voters, while excluding names of 60 to 70 lakhs of genuine voters, who were known to be supporters of the opposition parties. The tenure of the office of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was unilaterally extended from the maximum age limit of 65 years to the age of 67 years so that justice K M Hassan, the former leader of the BNP who had been the former chief justice could be appointed as the Chief Advisor to the care-taker government to conduct the election. Only such people were appointed to the posts of Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court as were loyal to the ruling parties so that challenges to their illegal activities could not be admitted in the courts. In the face of the mass movement against his appointment to the Post of the Chief Advisor to the interim government justice K M Hassan had to refuse to accept the post. But instead of appointing any other former Chief Justice as per the provisions contained in the Constitution, president Yazuddin Ahmed, member of the BNP, himself occupied the post of the Chief Advisor as well.
[15]OPPOSITION’S DEMANDS.For the last one and a half years the Opposition parties had been carrying on carried on a movement at various levels demanding
Reconstitution of the Election Commission which had been appointed on consideration of party loyalties
Preparation of a faultless voter list, and
Ensuring of an environment congenial to the conduct of a free and fair election by purify the administration of party influences.
At least 40 people were killed and quite a few thousand people were injured in three-days of violent incidents during the period between formation of the care-taker government and resignation of the erstwhile coalition government. Though President Yazuddin Ahmed on assuming the office of the Chief Advisor to the Care-taker Government had promised a free and fair election, he took practically no step in that direction. On the contrary the controversial Election Commissioner declared the schedule for election without publishing the revised voter list leading to four of the advisors resigning their posts, protesting against the decisions of the President and the Election Commission. Having failed to win the former President H M Ershad over to their side, the BNP brought a charge of corruption against him, and without giving him any opportunity for self-defense managed to get him sentenced by a Bench of the High Court to two years of imprisonment. Using this as a plea, Ershad’s nomination paper as a candidate for the parliamentary election was cancelled. As a protest against this illegal declaration of the election schedule without publishing the final voter list, and also against the President’s blatant use of the administration in favor of the BNP-Jamat coalition instead of freeing the administration of all sorts of party influences to ensure its impartiality, the 14-party Front and their allies, and the CPB, disassociated themselves on the 22nd January from the election, and launched a massive and continuous movement program to resist the election designed to be conducted in a spirit of partisanship. Determined to hold the election in the spirit of naked partisanship, President Yazuddin Ahmed deployed the armed forces to stem and crush the movement. Foreign Diplomatic Missions in Bangladesh, already intervening in the politics and administration of Bangladesh, publicly informed the Bangladesh government that if a one-sided election was conducted by stifling movements through armed forces, the said election would not be acceptable within the country, nor in the international sphere. The United Nations Organization also decided to stop giving technical assistance to the Election Commission, and the European Diplomatic Mission declared that the armed forces of Bangladesh working with the UN forces would be sent back. At present nearly 30 to 35 thousand Bangladeshi soldiers are working in the UN Army providing the main source of income of the Bangladesh Army. In the face of the countrywide movement and under international pressure, President Yazuddin was at last forced to retreat from his earlier stand cancelling the decision to hold the one-sided election on January 22. He also resigned from the post of the Chief Advisor to the caretaker government and at the same time declaring a state of Emergency in the country left the country in the hands of the armed forces. Simultaneously, the head of the Election Commission, i.e. the Chief Election Commissioner M A Aziz, resigned his post on January 21, and the other commission members finally tendered their resignation on January 31. The armed forces, the paramilitary forces and RAB have now been carrying on widespread search operations to arrest political activists who campaigned against the illegal activities of the government. More than 25,000 people were arrested in the a fortnight since the declaration of Emergency, including some middle ranking political activists as well. THE PRESENT CONDITIONS. The new head of the caretaker government Dr Fakruddin Ahmed who incidentally, worked for a long time in the World Bank, formed an interim government under his leadership consisting a Council of Advisors of 11 new members. After assumption of power on January 21 Dr Ahmed gave his first television address to the nation, where he promised that his government would reconstitute the Election Commission, distribute identity cards to all voters after reconstitutions the voters list, free the administration of all sorts of party interferences, and take steps against corruption. Only after all this was done, would his government arrange for the election, but without any mention of the time schedule or date for the election. On the contrary Prohibitory Rules and Sanctions under Emergency were declared, on January 26, banning all political activities holding of meetings, rallies and processions. Declaring that a state of Emergency can in no way be an alternative to democracy, the Bangladesh Communist Party and the Workers Party of Bangladesh have demanded that the Emergency be lifted forthwith and Election be held as early as possible by preparing a faultless voter list. All Editors of daily newspaper and TV channels have also demanded withdrawal of press censorship immediately. Knowledgeable sources hold the opinion that in Bangladesh today, real power is being held by the Armed Forces while a non-military or civilian Caretaker government ostensibly runs the administration. They are also of the opinion that this is according to the advice of the foreign diplomatic missions especially those of the US and the European Union that the Armed Forces of Bangladesh should control everything. An indication of this comes from the speech of the Chief Advisor and the report of the press conferences of some other Advisors that elections in Bangladesh are not going to be held in the near future.
Bangladesh Election 2008 – Possibilities and confusions
Ask anyone in Bangladesh. What they are looking for on an urgent basis. Politicians will tell you about their priority. They want election by December 2008. While, the remaining major sections of the society will ask for resolving the existing problems. Food shortage, power crisis and rise of religious extremism!If we start believing that the next general election in Bangladesh shall be held by the stipulated time frame as promised by the present interim government, it will be natural to assess the entire process initiated by the government in holding a free and fair poll. Some of the advisors in the government are meeting major political parties in private meetings, which they term as pre-dialogue for creating atmosphere of the real dialogue. On the other hand, some quarters are trying to put pressure on the government to abandon Jamaat-e-Islami and other anti-liberation forces from such dialogue process.Much anticipated general election in Bangladesh was originally scheduled for 21 January 2007, but postponed by two days due to demands by the opposition made in December 2006. They were put back by one day to 22 January, and subsequently postponed for an extended period due to opposition protests and boycott threats.Riots erupted in October 2006 as the government of outgoing Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and her Bangladesh National Party was to turn over power to a caretaker government of K M Hasan [former Chief Justcie of the Bangladesh Supreme Court]. At least three people died as thousands of demonstrators gathered on the streets in numerous towns; the opposition objected to Justice Hasan because it felt he was too close to the BNP. President Iajuddin Ahmed became head of the caretaker government instead, but he was also opposed by Awami League leader Sheikh Hasina and her allies, who accused him of favoring Zia. On January 3, 2007, Hasina announced that the Awami League and its allies would boycott the election, but the Election Commission stated that the election would be held regardless of the boycott.From January 4, 2007 until January 7, 2007 public protests were held to reach electoral reform; these protests brought the capital, Dhaka, to a standstill, and led to a state of emergency being declared on January 11, 2007 by Iajuddin Ahmed, who stepped down as chief advisor a few hours later. He also said that the elections would be delayed, and that Fazlul Haque would become acting chief adviser until he appointed a new chief adviser within a few days. Later on the same day, Fakhruddin Ahmed, former governor of Bangladesh Bank was appointed as the new chief adviser.Meanwhile, taking the advantage of massive media presence, Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Muhammad Yunus [founder of Grameen Bank] subsequently announced the foundation of a new party called Citizens' Power. Later he abandoned the idea of entering politics, as he failed to attain support from the people. Rather, such decision of Dr. Yunus of entering politics brought him to numerous criticisms at home and abroad.On April 5 2007, the Bangladesh's chief election official declared that the elections would need to be pushed back at least eighteen months. Subsequently on April 12 Fakhruddin Ahmed, the Chief Advisor, announced in a televised speech to the nation that the next parliamentary elections would be held before the expiry of the year 2008. On July 15, 2007 the Election Commission of Bangladesh published a roadmap for the election, promising a compilation of voter lists by October 2008 and an official election call before the end of that year.As per the latest information provided by Bangladesh Election Commission deadline for registration of political parties is set for June 30, 2008. While, according to this source, printing and distribution of final voter list shall be completed between 18 August – 16 October 2008. It has also categorically mentioned the timeframe for declaration of schedule and holding of general election within 1 June – 31 December2008.Here is the confusion! According to Election Commission, printing and sistribution of final voter list shall be completed between 18 August – 16 October 2008. Let us try to understand that the entire process will be completed by October 16. In this case, the real process of election, such as declaring poll dates, filling nominations and holding the election etc should take at least 90 days time. So, someone may easily anticipate that holding of general election within 31 December 2008 still remains largely uncertain.The Election Commission source further confirms that till April 7, 2008 voter registration in 323 areas are already completed, while such process is continuing in 50 more areas. If things will move positively, it is not difficult for the EC to complete the process by May end this year. But the main problem shall arise from the point of registering the political parties. As per latest information, none of the major political forces in Bangladesh have applied for such registration, while many are even against this move. It is even alleged that the Election Commission has incorporated a number of clauses in the registration prerequisition, which may stop a large number of political parties from getting registered.Election Commission sources briefing on registration of political parties says, “Registration of political parties is covered by the Representation of the People Order, 1972 (as amended from time to time). That provision is voluntary for the political parties at present. The roles and responsibilities of the political parties taking part in parliamentary elections need to be spelt out clearly. There is a need to ensure practice of democracy within the political parties besides ensuring transparency in their income and expenditure. The Bangladesh Election Commission is going to recommend that the registration of political parties taking part in the parliamentary election be made mandatory. This provision is included in the draft of RPO. A rule name Registration of Political Parties Rules was issued in 2001 which basis call describes procedures. It may be mentioned that before proposing for reforms, the Bangladesh Election Commission reviewed various research papers, documents, press reports and other materials available on this subject. Like RPO, this was also discussed with the stakeholders. The first such meeting was held on 26-04-2007 in the NEC Auditorium with representatives of the civil society organizations, eminent persons etc. Another meeting was held on 23-05-2007 with editors, senior journalists and members of the media. Finally, a series of meeting are underway with the political parties. The draft proposals have been reviewed at length and a number of changes have been made in the meanwhile.”The EC believes that, democratic system is not in practice right within the major political parties in Bangladesh, except Jamaat-e-Islami. Awami League, Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Jatiyo Party are run under the dictatorial decision of Sheikh Hasina, Khaleda Zia and Hussain Muhammed Ershad respectively. Necessary amendments should be made in party’s own constitution before it will become eligible for running in any of the future elections in Bangladesh. But, none of the dictatorial leaders of the major political forces are inclined in accepting such requests from the Bangladesh Election Commission. Unless the parties will abide by this rule, none will get registration with the EC and naturally doors for them in participating in the elections will turn shut. In this case, a major question may come in the minds of all, as to whether the Election Commission may retreat from its position on pre-condition of registration of political parties for participating in future elections.Prime goal of the present interim government in Bangladesh is to ensure free and fair election. But, it is also promising a corruption free country for the 150 million people in the years to come. If we will assess the past track record of all the potential winning parties, it will be clearly understood that none of the potential winning parties are free from the sins of corruption. In this case, would it be wise to believe that before holding any election in Bangladesh, a drastic reform should be first ensured within all political parties? If yes, then the second question is, whether such reform shall be accepted by the heavyweight leaders in those major poltical forces. According to present realities, it is greatly understood that, the parties in question shall never surrender their whims to such electoral precondition set by the Election Commission. In this case, naturally, a general election within the stipulated timeframe is quite uncertain. Once election becomes uncertain, Bangladesh may face some pressure from international community as many of the global powers have already expressed their opinions openly that postponement of the general election in 2008 shall not be accepted anymore. This is certainly a big challenge for the present interim government as well the Election Commission.Finally, the most important point is shall the actions and drives initiated by the present interim government in Dhaka get endorsement from the future democratic government? There is no room to have any doubt that the most important point for the present government is to hand over power to an elected government thus seeing a smooth exit path. Political realities in Bangladesh does not stand positively on this point. Rather, most of the politicians are already in the state of ‘vicdictims’ against the preset interim government. In this case, where is the solution? Further postponement of the election and even enforcing a hardline policy? And, finally, what about resolving the present food and power shortage crisis?
Early last year, just after an interim Government came to power, public confidence in the electoral system was extremely low. Indeed, 80% of people believed a new and accurate voter roll would be essential for the elections planned for 2008. Just over a year later, shortly before August's mayoral and local elections, popular opinion about the reliability of the Election Commission had been transformed. Placing their trust in its ability to collect accurate data, the people of Bangladesh felt that, this time, the elections would be fair and credible. Now, with national elections scheduled to take place in December, the country has every reason to believe that it can serve as an example to the rest of the world - a model of how to run an election that really does give a voice to the people. A new way of registering Bangladesh's voters will ensure that, when the country goes to the ballot box, democracy is always the winner. Rather than just recording voters' names, the new voter roll also carries their photographs, guaranteeing that one person gets only one vote and that the face of the person casting that vote is the same as the one on the roll. This innovation is part of a range of DFID-supported reforms in advance of Bangladesh's 2008 elections. In addition to changes to the registration process, work has been carried out to get groups traditionally left out of elections to exercise their democratic right and, at long last, cast their votes. Bangladesh has made impressive social and economic advances over the last decade, and as the third largest Muslim country in the world, has been hailed for its tradition of moderate pluralism. Bangladesh has held three successful democratic elections in the last 15 years. Incidents of extremist violence over the last couple of years, however, have begun to tear at the fabric of its moderate, pluralistic society. Washington therefore views credible elections in Bangladesh next year as critical to securing a stable future for the country. Assistant Secretary Boucher visited Bangladesh in November and will share his thoughts on the path to a successful 2007 election and a prosperous future for Bangladesh. Chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed said the next election would be considered a yardstick for the future."We want this election not only to be free, fair, neutral and acceptable, but also to stand out as a yardstick for future. Such an election will be possible as the voter list has been prepared with photographs," said Fakhruddin.Speaking as chief guest at the closing ceremony of the Voter Registration Programme, the CA repeated that the national elections would be held in December.Mentioning that the credit of registering 8.05 crore voters goes to the people, the chief adviser said: "Today is a memorable day for the nation, a day of celebration."I don't know whether any other country could register more than 8 crore voters in so short a time. The computerised voter registration is a milestone on the way to holding a free, fair and neutral election." Fakhruddin thanked the Election Commission, Bangladesh Army, donor countries and agencies, government and nongovernmental organisations for "extending financial and technical support and cooperation" at the field level in voter registration.Fakhruddin said the EC was going ahead with holding the local election and Jatiya Sangsad elections as per the roadmap. He hoped the EC would complete printing the voter list in October and hold upazila elections.The CA also hoped that the EC would hold the national election in December.In his address of welcome at the function, chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda said: "I express gratitude to the political parties, government and non-governmental agencies, efficient work force and the Bangladesh Army and the UNDP for their cooperation in this historic achievement. "By registering voters with photographs, Bangladesh has entered a glorious phase. It has empowered the voters." As per the roadmap, the voter list will be printed by October. The voter list will be updated by the middle of next year with the help of an automated system in Dhaka, districts and upazilas. Army chief Moeen U Ahmed speaking as special guest urged voters: "Elect honest, efficient and capable people in future. Bangladesh will become a prosperous country by 2020."General Moeen was confident about a free, fair and neutral and credible election by December 2008, and said: "A voter list with photographs is a must for an acceptable election. This time there are 8.05 crore voters on the list." The last list had 9.30 crore voters. "It shows how many fake voters were there on the previous list. If elections had been held on that list, people would have questioned its credibility. The international and domestic pressure has made the caretaker government adopt a less hawkish approach to the reform agenda. But it has not given up. The government is trying to give a legal basis for reforms within political parties. This will create an infrastructure which will help democracy within the political parties. This is a laudable effort of the caretaker government. No doubt, Sheikh Hasina and Begum Zia have played a crucial role in Bangladesh politics. But the way they have governed the country has left a lot to be desired. The emergency rule has led to some introspection in these political parties. Still, it is not sufficient enough to bring any major change in the way these organizations have been functioning. The civil society of Bangladesh has also emphatically advocated the need for democratic change within the parties as a way of ensuring credible general elections and a stable democratic order. At the same time, the government must take some measures which would increase confidence of the political parties. For instance, the demand to remove the ban on indoor politics has been raised not only by the political parties but also by the EC. EC thinks that for any meaningful political reform, it must hold consultation with the stake holders i.e. political parties. This is not possible unless the ban on indoor politics is lifted.
Then so we want a fair and a neutral election for the betterment of out country and our people and that’s all sir.


7. The Constitution of Bangladesh
[6] constitution of Bangladesh

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