Bangladesh poll body not to amend electoral law

July 26th, 2008 - 4:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, July 26 (IANS) Bangladesh’s Election Commission (EC) has dropped plans to replace the current set of electoral laws with a new one, following opposition from major political parties and for lack of time as it prepares for the December polls. The EC’s latest decision may further delay the electoral law reforms and registration of political parties, according to the newspaper New Age.

The Representation of Peoples Order (RPO), 1972, devised soon after the country became independent, would remain in force, Chief Election Commissioner A.T.M. Shamsul Huda said after a meeting with Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, heading a caretaker government.

In keeping with the electoral roadmap, all electoral reforms, including finalisation of the conditions for registration of political parties and the RPO, are to be completed by Feb 27.

The commission had earlier missed its June deadline for registration of political parties for delay in finalising reforms of the electoral laws and is now extending the time up to the announcement of the election schedule which is expected in October.

The political parties had long been asking the EC not to go for repealing RPO-1972, but the commissioners defended the move on the pretext that there would be a slew of amendments and the new law would be drafted in Bangla and an amended version of the old law would not be user-friendly, the newspaper said.

General elections were called off amidst political turmoil in January last year. The military-backed Ahmed regime has promised parliamentary polls for the third week of December.

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