Major parties divided on new electoral law in Bangladesh


Dhala : Major political parties in emergency-ruled Bangladesh have welcomed the decision to hold general elections in December but have voiced opposing views on the amended electoral law.

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While former prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League extended full support to the amended Representation of the People Order (RPO), her archrival Khaleda Zia-led BNP has rejected the amendments, which allow for a provision of a “no-vote” on the ballot paper.

Awami League formally began preparing for the polls, a day after chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed announced the date for the ninth parliamentary election.

Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), on the other hand, said “no” to all the new provisions of the amended electoral law demanding the Dec 18 polls be held under the previous law.

The new RPO makes compulsory the registration of political parties with the Election Commission, requiring amendment of their party constitutions in most cases.

The electoral law bars political parties from having front organisations and overseas units while it incorporated an option allowing voters to cast no-vote on the ballot paper.

If 50 per cent of votes are no-votes, according to the law, then the constituency will have to go for a re-election.

The new RPO also demands exercise of intra-party or in-house democracy, eight-point disclosures of contenders, submission of their election expenditure statements and related bank statements to the Election Commission.