May 26, 2024

Staff Reporter: The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) said on Thursday that the upcoming national election is unlikely to be participatory, and it is impossible to ensure public confidence in such an election.

The TIB placed 76 recommendations under “Political Commitments for Democracy, Good Governance and Integrity” for fostering democracy, institutionalising democratic values and practices, establishing an effective parliament, promoting good governance, and upholding integrity in the activities of political parties, according to a press release.

TIB Executive Director Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, Adviser – Executive Management Dr. Sumaiya Khair, Outreach & Communication Division Director Sheikh Manjur-E-Alam, and Research and Policy Division Director Muhammad Badiuzzaman attended the press conference, among others.

TIB Research Associate Kawsher Ahamed presented the recommendations.

The TIB suggested changing the Article 91(A) of the Representation of the People Order (Amendment) Act 2023, which reduced the Election Commission’s power by eliminating its authority to nullify the entire result of a specific parliamentary seat.

Besides, the pre-election codes of conduct for ministers and MPs should be precisely defined to ensure equal opportunities for all parties and candidates in their campaigns, ensuring a fair playing field in the national election, it noted. Additionally, the TIB suggested reintroduction of “No” vote in both national and local elections.

“We have been practising the parliamentary system for half a century. Now it is time to adopt a system with proportional representation in Parliament. Ensuring a free, fair, and impartial election is crucial to making the parliamentary system effective. Therefore, there is a need for an unbiased and nonpartisan role of the election-time government and all other stakeholders, particularly the administration and law-enforcement agencies,” said TIB executive director.

“Upon reviewing the period before and after the announcement of the upcoming national election schedule, it seems to us that what we mean by participatory election is unlikely to take place this time. This is a matter of great concern. We believe it is challenging to conduct an election that is founded on the principles of voting rights and can instill public confidence in the electoral process,” he said while answering questions.

The TIB executive director also suggested amending Article 70 of the Constitution to create opportunities of allowing the parliament members to oppose any party decision, engage in discussions, and vote against their respective parties in all other areas except motion of no-confidence and in case of budget making.

Additionally, he said after being elected, the prime minister should resign from the party position to perform parliamentary and executive duties in an unbiased and transparent manner.


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