EC formation law: search committee includes a woman

The Bangladesh parliament has greenlighted the much-discussed bill on the formation of the Election Commission while mandating the inclusion of a woman in the president-nominated search committee.

The new law passed by parliament on Thursday mandates the assembling of the search committee within 15 working days, departing from the 10 days mentioned in the draft of the bill.

Law Minister Anisul Huq tabled the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner Appointment Bill 2022 on Thursday. It was then passed through voting.

Members of BNP, Jatiya Party, the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and the Workers Party had proposed amendments to the bill.

While the proposals were sent to the scrutiny committee, the BNP and Jatiya Party MPs demanded the parliament's representation in the search committee. They criticised many aspects of the bill.

The bill drew flak from the political parties as well as from the civil society in Bangladesh. The next election commission will be formed under this law.

Law Minister Anisul Huq presented the bill to the parliament last Sunday. It was then forwarded to the parliamentary standing committee on the law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry to scrutinise it and submit a report back to the parliament in a week.

Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, president of the parliamentary standing committee, brought the bill to the parliament with two amendment recommendations on Wednesday.

Bangladesh Workers Party President Rashed Khan Menon had proposed to reserve a spot for a woman among the two civil society members of the search committee. The law minister seconded the proposal and the parliament passed it.

That means the six-member search committee, headed by a chief justice-nominated Appellate Division judge, will recommend the names for election commissioners to the president. At least one of them will be a woman.