April 12, 2024, 4:57 pm

Awami League to ‘mostly pick newcomers’ for parliamentary seats reserved for women

  • Update Time : Saturday, January 27, 2024
  • 39 Time View
Photo: Collected

Central leaders say the party wants to give newcomers a chance, which means many incumbents to be out

Desk Report:

The Awami League is stressing the need for new blood in its picks for the reserved seats for women in the 12th national parliament.

The ruling party has already held two rounds of meetings to select parliamentarians for the 50 seats, which has also made the matter clearer to aspirants.

Central party leaders say the Awami League wants to give newcomers a shot in the upcoming parliament, which means most incumbents will be left out. However, ‘four to five’ incumbents may be selected again at the special consideration of the party chief.

Prime Minister and Awami League President Sheikh Hasina met with the aspiring candidates at her official residence, Gonobhaban, on Thursday. About 25-40 aspirants spoke at the meeting, and the party chief recommended opportunities for newcomers.

On Friday evening, many hopefuls met with Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader at Sheikh Hasina’s political office in

Dhanmondi. But he gave them no clear indications of the party’s decision.

Asked how many incumbent MPs would retain their seats, Awami League Joint General Secretary AFM Bahauddin Nasim said, “Usually, our leader does not select the same people for reserved seats. The few in the last parliament were exceptions. There are also special considerations. This time, too, it seems a few will stay due to exceptional circumstances.”

Awami League Organising Secretary BM Mozammel Haque said, “Many people will ask for nominations, but the leader of the people, Sheikh Hasina, will decide who gets it. She considers how long they have worked for the party, their sacrifice, and their commitment to the party. It will be the same this time as well.”

“However, she has indicated that few will be retained. For various reasons, there may be four or five, but not more than that.”

The first session of the 12th national parliament will be held next Tuesday. The chief whip and the five whips were previously appointed, but a leader of the opposition has yet to be approved.

It is not clear whether the record number of 62 independent MPs elected this year will join a party or coalition.

However, they must inform the Election Commission by Jan 31 about joining a party or coalition for the distribution of reserved seats for women.

The Awami League won an absolute majority of 223 seats in the Jan 7 polls, the Jatiya Party 11, JaSaD one, the Workers Party one, and the Kalyan Party one.

Proportionally, the Awami League will get 38 reserved seats for women, the Jatiya Party will get two, and the independents 10.

The prime minister has invited the independent MPs to the Gonobhaban on Sunday. The announcement of whether they will join the party or form an alliance will likely be after the meeting.

Election Commission Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath said, “Five parties and 62 parliamentarians elected in the 12th parliament have been sent letters asking them to express their views on joining parties and coalitions. It should be reported to the commission by Jan 31. Only then will action be taken on voting for reserved women’s seats.”

As per the existing law, women’s seats are allocated in proportion to the number of seats won by parties in the general election. Members of parliament elected to regular seats become voters for reserved seats.

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