President Md Abdul Hamid on Monday appointed former secretary KM Nurul Huda the next chief election commissioner.
And former secretary Rafiqul Islam, former additional secretary Mahbub Talukder, former judge Begum Kabita Khanam and retired brigadier general Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury have been made election commissioners.
KM Nurul Huda, a civil service cadre of 1973 batch, retired as secretary in 2006.
The president picked the five names from a list of ten recommended by the search committee for reconstituting the election commission.
"The president has appointed KM Nurul Huda the chief election commissioner and appointed former secretary Rafiqul Islam, former additional secretary Mahabub Talukder, former judge Begum Kabita Khanam and retired brigadier general Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury as election commissioners from the list of 10 names submitted by the search committee," cabinet secretary Shafiul Alam told a media briefing at the Bangladesh Secretariat barely three hours inside the committee submitted ten names to the president at Bangabhaban.
The cabinet secretary, who was playing the role of spokesperson of the committee, said all of the ten names were picked from the lists submitted by the political parties.
He, however, could not say which political party had proposed the name of CEC-designate KM Nurul Huda.
Shafiul Alam said Nurul Huda, a civil service cadre of 1973’s Freedom Fighter batch, was forced to retire even before he became the secretary but the Supreme Court gave him the status of secretary.
Sources in the cabinet division said Nurul Huda was forced to retire from the public service during the BNP-Jamaat-led alliance government from 2001 to 2006.
In reply to a question whether the president has appointed from the names submitted by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the cabinet secretary replied in the positive and said Mahbub Talukder and Tofail Ahmed were on the list of BNP. Of them, Mahbub Talukder has been appointed election commissioner by the president.
He further said former judge Kabita Khanam and Planning Commission member Abdul Mannan were on the list submitted by the ruling Bangladesh Awami League. Of them, Kabita Khanam has been appointed election commissioner by the president.
The cabinet secretary claimed that the search committee worked neutrally and without any interference from the government.
The president-assigned committee proposed the names of former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder and former secretary KM Nurul Huda for appointing the next chief election commissioner (CEC), according to the cabinet division’s disclosure.
Four other persons who were named as prospective election commissioners are local government expert Tofail Ahmed, Dhaka University professor Zarina Rahman Khan, Planning Commission member Md Abdul Mannan and chairman of Janipop Nazmul Ahsan Kalimullah.
The president has appointed the election commissioners following the constitutional provision as the tenures of the chief election commissioner and three of his colleagues will expire on 8 February while the tenure of the rest election commissioner expires on 14 February.
“There shall be an Election Commission for Bangladesh consisting of the Chief Election Commissioner and not more than four Election Commissioners and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (if any) shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf, be made by the President,” read article 118(1) of the constitution.
Earlier, the search committee headed by Appellate Division judge Syed Mahmud Hossain, submitted 10 names for reconstituting the election commission to president Hamid at Bangabhaban in the evening.
The president formed the six-strong search committee on 25 January, giving it 10 working days to recommend 10 names of prospective election commissioners.
The committee, in its last meeting held at the Supreme Court Judges’ Lounge in the afternoon, finalised the 10 names from a number of lists it received from the political parties.
The cabinet division provided secretarial services to the search committee.
After its formation, the committee sought names of 31 registered political parties with whom the president held talks as part of the process to reconstitute the election commission.
The search committee members held meetings with 16 “distinguished” citizens in two phases.
However, they did not float any names for reconstituting the election commission. Most of them proposed that a law should be framed in keeping with the constitution to make a permanent arrangement for forming the election commission.