The Election Commission of Bangladesh and Our Expectations
Election Commission of Bangladesh (ECB) is the constitutional body, which has been working to ensure people’s right to vote to elect their representatives under the constitutional. ECB is the constitutional body to ensure that all powers in the republic are belonging to the people, and their exercise on behalf of the people lies only under and by this Constitution (Art.7.1). It is the institution which empowered to ensure our state in democratic process where the rule of law, fundamental human rights and freedom, equality and justice, political, economic and social, will be secured for all citizens.
Formation of Election Commission
Art.118. noted that the President is empowered to appoint the Chief Election Commissioner and not more than four Election Commissioners for five years, following the provisions of our constitutions and the provisions of any law made in regards. In addition to that ECB has its own secretariat as per the Election Commission Secretariat Act 2009 headed by a Secretary. The Secretariat is in Dhaka and has an Electoral Training Institute, field offices at the Regional, District and Upazilla/Thana level. The secretariat is to execute the decisions and orders of the ECB. There are total 10 Regional Election Office and 83 District Election Offices in the 64 Districts.
Functions of Election Commission:
Art 119.of the constitution mentioned that the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for elections to the office of President and to Parliament and the conduct of such elections shall vest in the Election Commission which shall, in accordance with this Constitution and any other law to:
(a) hold elections to the office of President
(b) hold elections of members of Parliament
(c) delimit the constituencies for the purpose of elections to Parliament ; and
(d) prepare electoral rolls for the purpose of elections to the office of President and to Parliament. In its addition the Election Commission shall perform such functions by this Constitution or by any other law.
The Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, 1972 is the key law for the ECB, besides that the ECB has to follow the President Election Act, 1991, the President Election Rules, 1991 for conducting presidential election. The Conduct of Election Rules, 2008, the Representation of the People Order, 1972, the Code of Conduct for Parliament Elections, 2008 and the Political Party Registration Rules, 2008 for conducting parliamentary elections. The City Corporation (Code of conduct) Rules, 2010, the Local Government (City Corporation) Election Rules , 2010,The City Corporation Law, 2009 for elections of the local bodies. Besides these laws there are few important laws are relevant like as, the Upazila Parishad Election Bidhimala, 2013, The Pourashava Law, 2009, The Union Parishad Law, 2009, The Delimitation of Constituencies Ordinance, 1976,The Delimitation of Constituencies 2013,The Electoral Roles Act, 2013.
It is our expectation from Mr. Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, the Chief Election Commissioner of Bangladesh and to the other Election Commissioners, that a trustworthy election, by which people will be able to elect their representatives in peaceful process. Though, it depends completely on the independence, capacity and impartiality of the Election commission. I think Art 119 brought that constitutional mandate for the ECB to administer direct elections to the Parliament and at all levels to prepare electoral roll and to delimiting territory for the parliamentary election. It is the expectation that the body might be able to maintain their Independence, Efficiency, impartiality, and accountability only to the law/s and to the people. The ECB should be strengthening in achieving its objectives and performing its functions in accordance with the Constitution.