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>MPs’ influence in local govt to go

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>THE council of advisers to the caretaker government is set to finalise proposals for revoking power of members of parliament over upazila parishads and to empower the Election Commission (EC) to announce schedules for holding polls to the parishads, Shakhawat Liton writes in The Daily Star.(Read full story)
“Finalising the proposed amendment to the Upazila Parishad Act is on the agenda for today’s cabinet meeting. If the council of advisers gives final approval, then the president will promulgate an ordinance amending the Upazila Parishad Act,” Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) and Cooperatives Adviser Anwarul Iqbal told The Daily Star yesterday.
Once the Upazila Parishad Act is amended, the EC will be empowered to announce schedules for upazila elections.
“Once the law is amended, we will formally ask the Election Commission to initiate steps for holding polls to upazila parishads… even though the responsibilities for holding the upazila elections will lie on the commission after amendment to the law,” the LGRD adviser said.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda yesterday said the EC would consider holding polls to upazila parishads when the government so suggests.
“Some are saying that it can be held along with the national elections and some are in favour of holding the upazila elections in segments. The decision has not been made yet,” the CEC told reporter at the EC Secretariat.
The EC in its electoral roadmap announced on July 15 last year said the long overdue elections to upazila parishads will be held between November and December this year.
Today the council of advisers is likely to discuss ways to ensure environment conducive to holding polls to four city corporations and seven municipalities at the end of April or early May, sources said.
The EC had earlier asked the caretaker government to create the environment for holding polls to city corporations and municipalities either by lifting or relaxing the state of emergency in the areas.

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