Emergency-ruled Bangladesh's interim government has cleared proposed amendment to the election laws allowing voters to cast "no" votes and making the registration of contesting political parties mandatory, officials said.
The interim cabinet or advisory council cleared the draft last night amending the Representation of the People's Order (RPO) Ordinance 2008 also requiring candidates to submit their election expenditure statements and related bank statements to the Election Commission (EC).
The proposed amendment barred political parties to have front groups and overseas units and demanded exercise of intra-party or in-house democracy to be qualified for polls.
"The ordinance will come back to the cabinet for the final approval after being vetted by the law ministry, while President Iajuddin Ahmed was expected to sign it by the end of this month," official spokesman Syed Fahim Munaim told reporters at the end of the cabinet meeting last night.
The amendment came as part of a massive electoral reforms as promised by the interim administration as the general elections were set to be held in the third week of December this year under an election commission roadmap.
The draft law suggested that voters should be allowed to cast "no" votes if they do not find any of the contestants worthy of their votes and an election to a constituency should be cancelled if "no" votes amount to 50 per cent or more of the total votes cast, and a bi-election will be held there.
The draft ordinance fixes a new ceiling for election expenditure where a candidate will be allowed to spend a maximum of Taka 15 lakh (USD 21,865 approx) for an electoral campaign. The amount was Taka five lakh earlier.