Monday, August 23, 2010

Bangladesh Expats to Become Voters

For last few years, Bangladesh Expatriates Council and its sister organization NRB Council, USA have worked hard lobbying lawmakers in Bangladesh to allow the expatriate community that live in the USA to register as voters in Bangladesh. We are glad to report that the Bangladesh Cabinet has approved a draft okaying our long standing demand. You can read the information below from the New Age.

Expats to become voters
Cabinet okays draft law
Staff Correspondent

The cabinet on Monday approved a draft of the Electoral Rolls (Amendment) Bill, 2010 to allow non-resident Bangladeshis to register as voters, fulfilling the expatriates’ long-standing demand.
The expatriate Bangladeshis, as per the draft, would be able to exercise their right to vote in all elections in the country after its enactment.
The law, justice and parliamentary affairs ministry proposed the amendment at the weekly cabinet meeting presided over by the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina.
‘The cabinet has approved the amendment to the electoral rolls law to allow the expatriates to register as voters at the places of their origin without considering whether or not they have movable or immovable assets there,’ the prime minister’s press secretary Abul Kalam Azad told reporters after the meeting.
The present electoral rolls ordinance has no provision for enrolling non-resident Bangladeshis as voters as the ordinance says people to be registered as voters should be residents in an electoral area during registration.
The Election Commission in July sent the final draft of amendments to the law ministry proposing that the Bangladeshis having dual citizenship could be registered as voters.
‘Bangladeshis who hold dual citizenship in line with the Bangladesh Citizenship (Temporary Provisions) Order 1972 will be registered as voters after the amendment is incorporated into the electoral rolls ordinance,’ election commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain told reporters early July after a meeting on the proposed draft.
The draft said people having wealth or dwelling in more than one constituency could register as voters for any of the constituencies as they would wish.
People who have become citizens of other countries after renouncing their Bangladeshi citizenship would not be included in the electoral roll, according to the draft.
The proposed amendment says Bangladeshis living abroad temporarily would be considered as voters of the constituency they come from.
Bangladesh missions abroad would collect voter application forms for dual citizenship holders and send them to the Election Commission after preparing a district-wise primary list, said EC officials. They said that the commission would send the application forms to the district registration officers for scrutiny.

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