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VOL 23 NO 65 REGD NO DA 1589 | Dhaka, Friday, January 15 2016
Posted : 15 Jan, 2016 18:28:17 AA-A+
Union Parishad elections
Rules relaxed for independent candidates
Rules relaxed for independent candidates

Independent candidates in the Union Parishad (UP) elections will not have to provide any list of voters supporting their nominations. The Election Commission unanimously approved the change in rule on Thursday.

The amended election code for the UP polls to be held on party lines will be forwarded to the law ministry on Sunday. “The condition is scrapped because of the ground reality,” said EC Secretary Md Sirajul Islam.

Even if only a few signatures are sought from each independent candidate in about 4,500 UPs, it will be ‘difficult’ for the commission to verify all of them, he said.

“Two days will not be enough to scrutinise the nominations if such a condition is set for the independent contenders. Besides, we must keep in mind that public soliciting of voters’ signatures in support of a candidate goes against the rule of confidentiality.”

EC officials say fake supporters are often named in lists, while nomination papers are rejected because of procedural flaws in some. Many of the initially disqualified aspirants subsequently regain their candidature by appealing against such rejection.

“Under the existing circumstances, it would not be right to keep the condition in place. Personally, I am against having the provision in the parliamentary and the municipal polls either,” the EC Secretary told said.

In the municipal elections, an aspirant has to provide a list of 100 people, with their signatures, expressing support his nomination.

In case of parliamentary polls, the number of such signatories, according to the Representation of the People Order (RPO), has to be 1 percent of the total voters in a constituency. The constitutional body is also considering making the change in the RPO.

Secretary Md Sirajul Islam said the draft of the UP election code had been finalised. Once vetted by the law ministry, a gazette will be published and the polls schedule is likely to be announced in February. The electoral code of conduct, however, will be further reviewed before being finalised on Jan 19, he said, according to –Mithun

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