Legal Framework

The Constitution of the Republic of Bangladesh guarantees the people’s right to suffrage.Article 65 of the constitution provides for a Parliament (known as Jatio Sangsad or National Parliament) in which, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, the legislative powers of the Republic are vested. The National Parliament consists of 300 members elected, in accordance with law, from single ­member territorial constituencies. Besides this, there was a provision for thirty seats reserved exclusively for women members up to the year 2000, who were elected according to law by the Members of Parliament (MPs) There are now 50 reserved seats for women members, who are selected by Members of Parliament, based on the proportionate number of seats each political party has won in the elections. This provision for 50 reserved women seats will continue for ten years from the beginning of the 9th Parliament (in 2009). The Parliament has tenure of five years, unless dissolved sooner.

According to Article 119 of the Constitution, the superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of the electoral rolls for elections to the office of President and to Parliament; and the conduct of such elections, are vested in the Election Commission which shall, in accordance with this Constitution and any other law –

(a) hold elections to the office of President;

(b) hold elections of Members of Parliament;

(c) delimit the constituencies for the purpose of elections to Parliament; and

(d) prepare electoral rolls for the purpose of elections to the office of President and to

Parliament. The modes and procedures for holding elections to the Members of Parliament are laid down in the Representation of the People Order, 1972:

i. General Election of Members of Parliament: The general election of Members of Parliament (MP) is held within ninety days after Parliament is dissolved, whether by reason of the expiration of its term or otherwise than by reason of such expiration [Article 123 (3) of the Constitution].

ii. Election to the Office of President: The President of Bangladesh is, according to Article 48 of the Constitution, elected by the Members of Parliament in accordance with law. The mode and procedures for holding election to the office of President are laid down in the Presidential Elections Act, 1991 and the Presidential Election Rules, 1991. The President holds office for a term of five years from the date on which he enters into office.

iii. Local Body Elections: Article 59 of the Constitution provides that local level government in every administrative unit of the Republic shall be entrusted to bodies, composed of persons elected in accordance with law. The existing laws and rules governing the conduct of elections to different local bodies empower the Election Commission to conduct the following local level elections:

(a) Union Parishads (Union Councils)

(b) Upazila Parishads

(c) City Corporations

(d) Pourashavas (Municipal Committees)

(e) Hill District Councils

A feature of Bangladesh’s Constitution is the provision for parliamentary elections to be held under a non‐party Caretaker Government (CTG). The CTG consists of a Chief Adviser and ten Advisers. It is appointed by the President upon expiry of the Parliament’s term of office. The formal responsibility of the CTG is to be in office for 3 months to provide for the holding of elections. According to the Constitution, it shall not take any policy decisions except in case of necessity. In this instance the CTG was in place for nearly 2 years (though the Advisers changed) and issued over 100 ordinances under the special circumstances of the State of Emergency. Other key legal instruments for the conduct of the elections are:

● Constitution (1972) with amendments, 16th amendment and most recent one in 2014

● Representation of People Order (RPO, 1972, Amended 2008)

● Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates (2008)

● Delimitation of Constituencies Ordinance (1976)

● Election Roll Ordinance (2007)

● Election Roll Rules (2008)

Resources :


PDF : Constitution of 1972 (as amended 2004)

Election Laws

Link : List of Electoral Laws (Election Commission Bangladesh)
PDF: The Representation of the People Order, 1972 (President’s Order No. 155 of 1972)
PDF: The Members of Parliament (Determination of Dispute) Act, 1980 (Act No. I of 1981)
PDF: The Delimitation of Constituencies Ordinance, 1976 (Ordinance No. XV of 1976)

Other Related Laws

PDF: Broadcasting Act

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