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Justice Mahmud to lead EC search panel

Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court will head the six-member search committee to nominate names for the constitution of a next Election Commission.

The Cabinet Division yesterday evening issued a gazette disclosing the names of the search committee members. The five other members of the committee are: High Court Division Judge Obaidul Hassan, Controller and Auditor General of Bangladesh Masud Ahmed, Chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commi-ssion (BPSC) Dr Muha-mmed Sadique, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Chittagong University Prof Dr Shireen Akhter and Dhaka Uni-versity English Department teacher Prof Dr Syed Manzoorul Islam.

Earlier in the day, President Abdul Hamid formed the search committee and sent the names to the Cabinet Division for publishing the gazette notification. Earlier, President Abdul Hamid held month-long talks with political parties on the formation of a new Election Commission (EC).

The dialogue ended on January 18. President Hamid held talks with 31 political parties, including the ruling Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party (Ershad).During the talks, the political parties separately placed a series of proposals and most of them proposed enacting a law for the EC formation.

The Constitution says the president will be guided by a law in constituting the Election Commission, but that law has not been enacted in the last four decades. Former president Zillur Rahman had appointed commissioners for the current EC from names nominated by the search committee that was formed after discussions with political parties.

That search committee headed by Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain had suggested two names for chief election commissioner and eights names for election commissioners. Former civil servant Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad was later chosen as the chief election commissioner and Abdul Mobarak, Abu Hafiz, Jabed Ali and Md Shahnewaz as commissioners.

The current Election Commission’s term will end in the next month. The next commission will be in office for five years and have no more than five commissioners. President Abdul Hamid followed that precedent this year and went through a series of dialogue with top leaders of political parties beginning on December 18.

Delegations from the ruling Awami League, opposition Jatiya Party, the BNP and 28 other political parties gave their opinions on forming the new Election Commission.Most of them emphasized the need for a law but suggested a search panel in its absence. They proposed names for the search panel.

Source: Asian Age, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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