'Those shortlisted have no political affiliations'

The 20 people, shortlisted recently for the election commissioners' posts, do not have any direct political affiliation.

Talking to The Daily Star yesterday, Abdul Wadud, additional secretary to the Cabinet Division, also said the search committee shortlisted the people taking their honesty, competency and neutrality into consideration.

The panel still could bring some changes to the list as it had not been finalised yet. It would again meet at the Supreme Court Judges' Lounge at 5:00pm on Monday to finalise the names, he added.

On January 31, the search committee, formed for the constitution of the EC, prepared the list from around 125 names recommended by 26 registered political parties, which also had held talks with the president recently.

According to a gazette issued on this January 25, the panel would recommend two names each for the posts of the EC chief and four election commissioners. The committee would present its recommendations to the president in 10 working days

It will pick 10 names from the shortlist and submit those to the president, who, on the prime minister's advice, would appoint the chief election commissioner (CEC) and four other commissioners this month.

Additional Secretary Wadud said the search panel was scrutinising the names on the shortlist. It would pick the best people for the job.

“The names will be reviewed again and the list will become shorter. Efforts were on to recommend the finest people, considering constitutional provisions, suggestions from the civil society members and other criteria,” he told reporters after the fifth panel meeting at the Supreme Court Judge's Lounge yesterday.

Wadud said the committee hopes to submit its recommendation to the president by February 8.

He said yesterday's meeting reviewed the recommendations given by the civil society members.

“The summary of the opinions of the civil society members would be sent to the president. It might also be uploaded in the internet,” he added.

Recently, the search committee has held meetings with 16 civil society members to get their views on the formation of the next EC.

Asked, he said no new names were included in the shortlist.

On January 25, President Abdul Hamid formed the six-member search panel, headed by Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, after holding a series of talks on the EC formation with 31 political parties registered with the EC.

The other members of the panel are Justice Obaidul Hassan, an HC judge, Muhammed Sadique, chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commission Masud Ahmed, comptroller and auditor general of Bangladesh, Prof Syed Manzoorul Islam, trustee board member of Transparency International Bangladesh, and Shireen Akhter, pro-vice chancellor of Chittagong University.

The tenure of the incumbent EC expires this month.

source: Daily star