Polls expense ceiling to be Tk 25 lakh
The government yesterday placed a bill in parliament proposing changes in the Representation of the People Order to increase the ceiling of individual election expenditure and donation for political parties.
According to the proposal, a candidate may a spend maximum of Tk 25 lakh in the next parliamentary polls. The ceiling has been Tk 15 lakh since the 2008 general election.
Individuals and organisations would also be able to donate more to political parties once the proposals are translated into laws.
An individual would be allowed to donate to a party up to Tk 25 lakh, 10 lakh more than the current ceiling. An organisation or a company may donate up to Tk 50 lakh. Currently, they can donate Tk 25 lakh at the maximum to a political party.
The bill, placed by the law minister, also proposed increasing security deposit of a candidate to Tk 20,000 from the existing Tk 10,000.
It also proposed that expenditures of countrywide electioneering by the chief of a political party would not be included in party expenditures.
The bill also proposed an amendment to the RPO to bar the people convicted under the International Crimes Tribunal Act from contesting the parliamentary polls.
The proposed amendments to the RPO also seek to empower the Election Commission to transfer government officials during polls.
A proposal to this effect says the EC may request transfer of any government officials or employees in the interest of fair polls. Such transfer would take effect as soon as the authorities concerned receive its written request.
A proposed change would give some more days to a registered political party to finalise its candidates.
A registered political party is now allowed to primarily nominate more than one candidate for each constituency. The party has to inform the returning officer about its final selection before scrutiny of nomination papers.
The proposed amendment says a political party in such cases would inform the returning officer about its final nomination after scrutiny and before withdrawal of candidacy.
If a political party finally nominates one such candidate, candidacy of other primarily nominated candidates would be ceased with immediate effect.
In defence of the proposed changes, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed said the amendments would contribute to holding free and fair polls.
The bill was sent to the parliamentary standing committee on law ministry for scrutiny. It is likely to be passed in the current parliamentary session, which is set to prorogue on October 24.