Why are new political parties struggling to get EC registration?

Last Updated on August 22, 2023 9:07 am

Several new political parties have complained over the Election Commission’s (EC’s) denial of their registration, alleging that the commission is only approving parties to benefit the ruling Awami League.

When asked about the allegations, Election Commissioner Begum Rashida Sultana said the process of registering new political parties was not being used as a political tool but that decisions to this end were made after a thorough verification process.

She further said that the parties which have not been registered do not have the time to appeal to the Election Commission or apply again before the next parliamentary election.

Of the many parties that had applied for registration, only two were given approval: the Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP) and Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM).

Andaleeve Rahman Partho, chairman of Bangladesh Jatiya Party, another applicant, said: “At present many political parties are not willing to participate in elections. The ruling party tries to accommodate some new political parties to lure other parties into the election.”

He claimed all parties with anti-government sentiments were being denied registration.

Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator Zonayed Saki said: “The EC did not approve the registration of active and renowned political parties. It was an ill-motivated move.”

He also alleged that the Awami League government was influencing the EC and not allowing it to register parties with opposing ideologies. His party had applied for registration on December 30, 2017.

“The commission denied us registration, pointing to the foreign wings of our organization, although our party did not have such wings,” he said.

In 2019, the High court (HC) directed the commission to register Ganosamhati Andolan as a new political party, but the commission did not implement the decision, he further said.

“A notice of contempt of the HC was given to the EC in 2022, but the commission appealed for a stay order. We are now waiting for the verdict of the appellate division,” added the Ganosamhati Andolan chief coordinator.

He claimed the EC had lost the moral ground to conduct the elections.

“Currently we are agitating for a democratic settlement against a fascist group,” he said.

Mojibur Rahman Monju, member secretary of Amar Bangladesh Party, said: “During the application for party registration, the commission informed us about some errors. The issues were corrected and we resubmitted the application.”

He said his party was on a shortlist of four new political parties being considered for registration, but the commission reported an unexpected error at the last moment. A clarification on the error has not been provided yet.

“We have filed a complaint letter and review petition, but the commission has not yet responded to us,” said Monju.

The AB party is preparing to file a petition with the HC division for resolving the registration issue.

BSP, BNM get registration

Meanwhile, the Bangladesh Nationalist Movement (BNM) and Bangladesh Supreme Party (BSP) have been registered with the EC as political parties.

EC Joint Secretary Abdul Baten said that a total of 12 parties were placed in the preliminary selection list.

Later, 10 parties, including Gono Odhikar Parishad and AB party, were dropped from the list due to incorrect information about the upazila committees of the parties.

However, their central and district committees were appropriate, said EC Joint Secretary Abdul Baten.

He further said that a number of objections were filed against the two parties, which were disposed of in a hearing held recently.

On August 10, the commission decided to register the two parties.

BNM got the electoral symbol “Anchor” and BSP the “Ektara,” according to the Election Commission.

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