Dhaka: The Bangladesh parliament Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday passed the bill for the appointment of Election Commissioners and Chief Election Commissioner for the formation of the next Election Commission (EC). The bill was placed in the parliament by the law, justice and parliamentary affairs Minister Anisul Huq. It was passed by the voice vote, reports the official news agency BSS. 

The bill gives a legal shield to the appointments of the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners to form the EC. The tenure of the current Election Commission ends on Feb 14. 

The bill envisages a six member search committee appointed by the president to recommend the names of the Election Commissioners and CEC. The search committee will be headed by a judge of the Appellate Division nominated by the Chief Justice. Its members will include a High Court Division judge, the Comptroller and Auditor General, Chairperson of Public Service Commission and two eminent citizens including one woman.

Discussing the draft law, Minister Anisul Haq said that it does not impose any obligation on the president to discuss with others his nomination for the search committee. He said that the law has been enacted to form a transparent and powerful Election Commission.

However, the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir criticised the bill for being passed in a hurry. Addressing the media at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Thursday, he said that the parliament does not have any right to pass the law as it is not ‘elected by the people’. He reiterated that BNP will not take part in any election under the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led government.

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