The opposition Awami League and its allies on Friday officially announced a set of electoral reforms proposals to ‘free the next general election from any evil influence.’ The next elections are scheduled for early 2007. The Awami League president, Sheikh Hasina, announced the joint reforms proposals, formulated by 10 opposition parties and groups, at a crowded news briefing at the National Press Club. The parties are Awami League, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Gana Forum, Samyabadi Dal, Ganatantri Party, Gana Azadi League, Ganatantrik Majdur Party, National Awami Party, Hasanul Haq Inu’s faction of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and the Communist Kendra. The proposals suggest that the chief adviser and the other advisers to the caretaker government, which conducts the general elections and runs the administration for 90 days during the elections, and all the election commissioners, including the chief election commissioner, should be acceptable to all and be appointed on a consensus of all political parties. The declaration includes a four-point proposal to amend the formation and jurisdiction of the caretaker government, a 15-point proposal to make the Election Commission (EC) truly independent and an 11-point suggestion for reforms of electoral laws and regulations. Sheikh Hasina said this is people’s demand and we should all be united. She said that a person who was a party member and who expressed his embarrassment to judge Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s murder case for allegedly being related to one of the killers on 15th August 1975. After the reading of the proposals, Dr Kamal said, "We have tabled these reform proposals unitedly before the nation. Their implementation will bring genuine people's representatives in parliament and help it get rid of the clutches of black money and muscle power." He said the opposition parties will move together and realise the demands through movement.
In an instant reaction, LGRD and Co-operatives Minister and BNP Secretary General Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan yesterday termed the opposition-set reform agenda an AL-led move to hinder smooth election.
Photo: Courtsey, The Daily Star Dhaka