Constitution should be amended and the Election Commission should be strengthened to ensure a free and fair election, observed speakers at a discussion in Dhaka on Friday.
To make the election commission effective, individual and impartial, the powers of the prime minister should be reduced and no one should have the chance to be elected president or prime minister for more than two straight terms, they said while addressing the discussion titled ‘Parliamentary Election: politics of state reform’ organised by Rashtra Chinta, a political group.
Sadiya Jerin Piya, a member of Rashtra Chinta, presented a keynote paper at the discussion at National Press Club.
She mentioned that six articles of the constitution, including article 123(3) and article 70, which were related to election process, caretaker government system and the roles of people’s representatives should be amended.
The parliamentary democracy had become almost dysfunctional and the government had turned it into an authoritarian regime, said Jagannath University teacher Nasir Uddin Ahmed.
Referring to finance minister AMA Muhith’s comment on the next national election, Nasir Ahmed said how a minister declared the date of election while there was an independent election commission.
Advocate Hasnat Quaiyum said all the powers of the state had been accumulated in one centre and the whole country went into the grips of a few people.
‘Our constitution has given unlimited powers to the prime minister and he or she needs not to be responsible for his or her jobs and he/she does not need to be accountable to anybody,’ said Hasnat Quaiyum, also the convener of the programme.
‘It is necessary to reduce the power of the prime minister a little bit for a strong election commission,’ he said.
The role of the opposition party was necessary in strengthening democracy, but the government of this country never gave space to the opposition parties, said Dhaka University professor Abdur Razzak Khan.
Conducted by writer Rakhal Raha, the discussion was addressed, among others, by Rashtra Chinta member Hasib Uddin Hossain, Dhaka University International Relations professor Tanjim Uddin Khan and freedom fighter Naim Jahangir.
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