Can MPs be independent candidates? Confusion over EC Rasheda's statement

Can MPs be independent candidates? Confusion over EC Rasheda's statement
Can MPs be independent candidates? Confusion over EC Rasheda's statement

Can MPs be independent candidates? Confusion over EC Rasheda's statement.

The law says that MPs do not have to leave their posts to become independent candidates, nor do they have to list the support of 1 percent of the voters. The urge to become an independent candidate came after the top level of the ruling Awami League instructed to keep an alternative (dummy) candidate to prevent an uncontested victory in the 12th parliamentary elections.

In the list of independent candidates, there are new and old faces of the party, as well as the current MPs, who did not get the boat ticket this time. Again, many people want to be candidates outside the political party.

In such a situation, confusion has arisen with a statement of the Election Commissioner Rasheda Sultana regarding the independence of the current parliamentarians.

In Rajshahi on Tuesday, journalists drew the attention of the Election Commissioner and said that there are many parliamentarians who are taking nomination papers as independents without getting nominations from Awami League; Again the party is giving another candidate there. In that case, parliamentarians who want to be independent candidates, they have to resign or not.

In response, EC Rasheda Sultana said, "As you all know, MPs cannot (vote) from office. If they want to be independent, they must resign - that is the law."

What does the law say?

EC Secretary Md. Jahangir Alam says that Election Commissioner Rasheda Sultana's statement about individual candidature of parliamentarians may be 'slip of tongue'.

According to him, members of parliament can be elected from the post according to the law. In that case, there is no question of anyone's resignation. Be it party, non-party or reserved women's seats - she can be a candidate from the position of parliament member.

EC Secretary Md. Jahangir Alam says that Election Commissioner Rasheda Sultana's statement about individual candidature of parliamentarians may be 'slip of tongue'.

Jahangir said that there are clear guidelines in the law regarding the people's representatives of the local government and who has to resign to be elected in 'profitable' positions.

According to the Election Act, in case of an independent candidate, the candidate has to submit the support list of 1 percent of the voters of the respective constituencies along with other documents while submitting the nomination papers. In case of party candidates, the nomination certificate of the registered party has to be submitted.

However, if a Member of Parliament wants to stand as an independent candidate, he is not required to list the support of 1 percent voters.

EC Secretary said, "I have not seen what the Election Commissioner said. The term of the 11th parliament is up to January 29, until then the members of this parliament will remain in office. The twelfth parliamentary election is being held within 90 days before the end of the term.

In that case, there is no obstacle to electing members of parliament from the positions of the eleventh parliament. If any of them is a party candidate, they have to submit party nomination, and if they want to be an independent candidate, they just have to attach a copy of the gazette of the eleventh parliament as a member of parliament.

Mahbubar Rahman Sarkar, Joint Secretary of Election Commission Secretariat's Law Branch also said the same thing.

Can MPs be independent candidates? Confusion over EC Rasheda's statement

He said that members of Parliament can be elected from the posts. No member of parliament needs to resign to become an independent candidate.

After 1991, there was no opportunity to elect MPs or government ministers in Bangladesh. Under the caretaker government system, elections were held within 90 days of the end of the government's tenure.

But the government abolished the caretaker system through the Fifteenth Amendment of the Constitution, creating a constitutional obligation to hold elections in the last 90 days of the government's term. 10th and 11th parliamentary elections have been held under this rule. The twelfth parliamentary election is also being held in the same way.

At a glance:

  • After the Fifteenth Amendment Article 123 (3) of the Constitution states that the general election of the members of Parliament shall be held-
  • (a) in the case of a dissolution of Parliament by reason of expiry, within ninety days preceding the dissolution; And
  • (b) within ninety days after the dissolution of Parliament for any reason other than expiration of term;
  • Provided that persons elected in general elections held under sub-clause (a) of this clause shall not, until the expiry of the period mentioned in the said sub-clause, assume office as Members of Parliament.
Before the election on January 5, 2014, the then Election Commission said that if the election is held with the parliament in place, there is no obstacle for the members of parliament to be candidates.

When asked whether the commission would resort to the court to find out whether membership of parliament is profitable or not, the then election commissioner Abu Hafiz said, "There is no need to go to court. A judgment has been made on this. It says that membership in Parliament is not profitable.”

He also said that in the light of that verdict, there is 'no obstacle' for members of Parliament to participate in the parliamentary elections.

However, since the posts of local government chairman and mayor are considered profitable, they have to vacate their posts only then to hold parliamentary elections.

EC officials said that the upazila parishad chairman post has also been termed as 'profitable' in the observation of the court. In that case, there is no opportunity to participate in the parliamentary elections from that position.
At the same time, there are similar instructions regarding the mayor of the municipality and the chairman of the union council as local public representatives. As the post of mayor of the city corporation was considered 'lucrative', he also had to resign and contest the national elections.

Election Commissioner Rasheda Sultana's statement on this matter was called several times, but she did not get a response.

Hidrik of independent candidate why:

If he contests against the party nominee, he is branded as a rebel. Along with this, there are precedents for taking various measures like expulsion.

However, this time, BNP, one of the largest parties in the country, has announced that it will not go to the elections, so the ruling party wants to make the elections competitive and participatory.

The leaders of the party say that in the polls, one's nomination paper may be cancelled, in which case there may be a vacancy for the boat candidate. If the others are cancelled, there will be no one but the candidate of Awami League.

In such a situation, Awami League is careful so that none of the ruling party wins unopposed.

Earlier, Awami League candidates won unopposed in more than 150 seats in the 10th parliamentary elections due to the exclusion of BNP, which was widely criticized later. Awami League wants to avoid such a situation this time.

Last Sunday, after the party announced candidates for 298 seats, it was seen that 71 members of Parliament who won in the general and by-elections of the 11th parliamentary elections did not get party nomination this time. Three of them are currently serving as Ministers of State, and four are former Ministers.

Many of the MPs who did not get nominations have announced to be independent candidates as the 'sword' of becoming an independent candidate has gone against the party's opinion.

Again, the opposition party in the parliament, the Jatiya Party, has not given party nomination to some of the current members of parliament. The party's former secretary general and member of parliament Mosiur Rahman Rangan also wants to be an independent candidate this time.

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