MPs for women reserve seats

Sagar Biswas :
The ruling Awami League [AL] has taken preparations to fill up the women reserved seats of the 10th parliament introducing young and talented persons.
The overall electoral process will end by January 24 or 25 arranging oath of the women MPs so that they can join the first session of the next parliament starting on January 29, insiders said.
The AL Parliamentary Party will complete the interview of the interested candidates on January 19 at Ganabhaban in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the final list of nominees likely to send to the Election Commission [EC] by January 20.
In this backdrop, the EC is likely to announce the election schedule for 50 women reserved seats within a few days, as both the EC and AL are showing interest to hold the elections as soon as possible.
“We have already met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to discuss the issue. She has decided in favour of young and talented leaders for the women reserved seats…Several MPs of outgoing parliament may be dropped this time,” Nazma Akter, former MP and president of Jubo Mahila League, told The New Nation on Thursday.
“The nomination of MPs for women reserved seats completely depends on
the decision of PM. I’ve bought a nomination paper, but I don’t know whether I will get her blessing, or not.”
Meanwhile, the AL has been distributing nomination papers among the aspirant candidates from Wednesday in exchange of Tk 25,000. About 500 nomination papers have so far been sold in the last two days.
As per law, the elections in reserved seats should be held within 90 days after gazette publication of parliamentary polls. The ruling party will get about 40 seats in the parliament as per proportion of its winning seats.
Election Commissioner Md Shah Newaz said: “The Commission will announce the schedule for reserved women seats just after completion of elections in 392 polling centres under eight constituencies on January 16, which was suspended on January 5 because of violence.”
As per 15th amendment to the Constitution the women reserved seats were increased from 45 to 50. Earlier on 16 May 2004, the JS had passed the 14th constitutional amendment to reintroduce quota for women to raise the number of seats in the next parliament to 345, where 45 [15 per cent of 300] would be reserved for women.
This quota system replaced the previous quota law which expired in April 2001, where 30 seats out of 330 were reserved for women [chosen by indirect election by the 300 directly elected MPs].
Actually, the 1972 Constitution at first introduced the quota system by providing 15 reserved seats for women, out of 315 seats, for a period of 10 years. But, in 1978, a Presidential proclamation increased the number of reserved seats to 30 and extended the period of reservation to 15 years.
The constitutional provision was lapsed in 1987. But the provision was restored in the Constitution by an amendment in 1990 for 10 years. This provision also lapsed in 2001. In this regard, the Parliament which was elected in 2001 did not have reserved seats for women.

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