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Bangladesh

In law
56
In practice
33

In Bangladesh, no direct or indirect public funding is provided to parties or candidates. Non-financial state resources were frequently abused during the most recent campaign. Some limits on contributions exist, and parties and candidates are both subject to restrictions on spending during campaigns. In spite of existing regulations on these issues, the evidence suggests that limits on both spending and donations are breached regularly. The law specifies some reporting requirements for parties and candidates, but in practice, those requirements are rarely adhered to. The Electoral Commission scans and publishes many of the incomplete reports that they receive, but that information is available only in pdf or hard copy, which makes parsing and analyzing financial reports difficult. Third party actors are present in Bangladesh. However, no laws restrict their independent political activity. The Bangladeshi Electoral Commission is charged with monitoring and enforcing political finance laws, but in practice, the agency is hamstrung by a lack of staff and budget. Despite sometimes imposing sanctions on parties and candidates that violate the legal framework, political actors continue to break the law, and concerns about the Commission's independence and efficacy persist.

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    Direct and Indirect Public Funding

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      Direct Public Funding
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        1
        Score
        NO
        In law, there is direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is direct public funding for both political parties and individual candidates to campaign. A 100 also applies where only one of the two actors can be elected and, therefore, only one is entitled to direct public funding.

        A MODERATE score is earned where per law only one of the two actors (either political parties or individual candidates) is allocated direct public funding to campaign, even though both can be elected.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        2
        Score
        NO
        In law, there is a transparent and equitable mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns.More about indicator

        No such law exists.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) direct public funding for political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where direct public funding for political party and individual candidates' electoral campaigns is allocated through a clearly defined calculation mechanism that is transparent and equitable, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        3
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent is the mechanism to determine direct public funding for electoral campaigns transparent, equitable and consistently applied?More about indicator

        Not applicable. Since there is no provision in the law for direct public funding for electoral campaign, no mechanism exists that determines direct public funding for electoral campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaigns allocations are always defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) electoral campaign allocations are usually defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are usually applied but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political campaign allocations are rarely or never defined through a clearly defined transparent and equitable calculation mechanism, or 2) the defined eligibility criteria are rarely applied.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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        4
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent does the entity in charge of public funding make disbursement information publicly available?More about indicator

        Not applicable. Since there is no provision in the law for direct public funding for electoral campaign, there is no authority as such that is in charge of public funding that will make disbursement information publicly available.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) complete information on the disbursements is published less than a month after disbursement, and 2) the information is available on the Internet for free or in hard copy at photocopying cost.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the information published is incomplete or published more than two months after disbursement, or 2) obtaining the information costs more than photocopying.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) disbursement information is published more than four months after disbursement, or 2) no disbursement information is published or released upon request.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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      Indirect Public Funding
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        5
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        YES
        In law, use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates is prohibited.More about indicator

        Using any government establishment such as government bungalows or offices for the campaign by any candidate or political party is prohibited (Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates 2008, Rule 4) (The document is in Bangla, and no English version is available). The use of government media, public officials and public vehicles and other public services by any registered political party or candidate (nominated by a party or independent) is strictly prohibited (Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates 2008, Rule 14).

        Rule 4: "No government bungalow, rest house, circuit house or government office can be used for the purpose of electoral campaigns for or against any candidate."

        Rule 14 (2): "No registered political party or candidate nominated by the party or independent will use government media, public officials and public vehicles and other public services after the declaration of the election schedule."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where there is an explicit ban on the use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A YES is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions, which are accessible to all actors equally.

        A MODERATE score is earned where an explicit ban exists but it only applies to one of the two actors, even though both can be elected. A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        A NO score is also earned where the law exists, but allows discretionary exceptions.

        Sources

        Electoral Code of Conduct for Political Parties and Candidates 2008, Rule 4 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/240.pdf

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        6
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        0
        In practice, to what extent are no state resources used in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates' electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        Using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual political candidates’ electoral campaigns is prohibited in the law. However, state resources are in fact used in national elections in Bangladesh.

        On November 25, in his speech to the nation, the Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakib Uddin Ahmed reiterated that from the day the election schedule is announced those entitled to government facilities would not be able to enjoy their privileges anymore. However, it turned out that influential ministers, prime minister’s advisers, and senior officials of different ministries and divisions, among others, were using vehicles of different government projects despite having one allocated by their ministries or departments. Moreover, while actively campaigning, they also continued enjoying all the privileges they were entitled to, such as monthly remunerations and other allowances, government allotted apartments, telephones and so on.

        It was reported that around 100 such government officials were using vehicles of different projects of different government functionaries. A good number of these people were contesting the 10th parliamentary polls from the then ruling party (Bangladesh Awami League) and were legally bound to give up all the government facilities they used to have. It was also reported that some of them used these resources directly or indirectly for electoral campaigns. For instance, a candidate (M A Awal, Secretary General of Tarikat Federation) used a helicopter to go to his constituency (Lakshmipur-1) and then used a car of the local municipality (Ramganj) to attend campaign events. Another candidate (M Shahabuddin of AL, candidate for Moulvibazar -1 constituency) used police protection and other protocols during his campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there is no evidence of authorities using state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates. A 100 is also earned where there are clearly defined exceptions and are equally accessible to all actors.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) documented evidence indicates occasional use of state resources in favor of or against political parties and individual candidates, or 2) clearly defined exceptions are not equally accessible to all actors.

        A 0 score is earned where documented evidence indicates regular use of state resources in favor of or against certain political parties and individual candidates.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        “The candidate flew in and out on a helicopter”, Golam Mortuza, M J Alam and A B M Ripon, Daily Prothom Alo, December 24, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/107071/

        “Ministers, advisers using project cars: Even after resignation, many did not return vehicles, continue to draw fuel bill”, Staff Correspondent, The Daily Star, December 4, 2013 http://www.thedailystar.net/newsarchive/ministers-advisers-using-project-cars-1274

        “Car-flashy Ministers and Advisors”, Sharifuzzaman, Daily Prothom Alo, December 2, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/88228/

        “Violation of electoral code by AL candidate”, local correspondent, Daily Prothom Alo, December 29, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/110427/

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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates have free or subsidized access to equitable air time for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The registered parties will be entitled to, among other things, free access to airtime in broadcasting and telecasting facilities in the state-owned media during the general election (RPO 1972, Article 90 F (1) (d).

        “(1) Subject to the provision of clause (2), a registered political party shall be entitled to- … (d) broadcasting and telecasting facilities in the state-owned media during the general election to Parliament according to the principles and guidelines prescribed by the Commission;”

        However, the Election Commission has not issued any guidelines to determine how access should be determined.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, and 2) there are clearly defined eligibility criteria.

        A MODERATE score is earned where free or subsidized access to air time for electoral campaigns is granted in a transparent, equitable way, but eligibility criteria are not clearly defined.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 90 F (1) (d) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        8
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        50
        In practice, to what extent is free or subsidized access to air time provided in a transparent, equitable way to political parties and individual candidates for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        During the 10th national election held in January 2014 free air-time for electoral campaign programming was given only to some of the parties. In late December 2013, each party was allocated 30 minutes after the Bangla news on the Bangladesh Television, the state-owned television. However, the Tariqat Federation alleged that they were not given the opportunity to broadcast their election materials during this timeslot. Later a formal complaint was made to the Electoral Commission, but it did not respond with any explanation.

        Additionally, some parties, like the Jatio Party, claim that they were unaware that free air-time was being offered to the contesting parties. This is because the largest opposition coalition, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), did not participate in the election, and as a result, no one was really interested in the on-air campaign in the state-owned media. The Jatio Party was not aware of the free air-time during the last parliamentary election. Access was not denied, per se, but simply was not granted as prescribed by the eligiblity criteria set forth in law (that all registered parties receive access to air time).

        It may be noted that those who are in power get privileges with regard to publicity, as they already get huge news coverage.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is always provided in a transparent and equitable way, and 2) the defined eligibility criteria are applied consistently.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) free or subsidized access to media advertising is usually provided in a transparent and equitable way, but exceptions exist, or 2) the eligibility criteria are not always applied.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) there's rarely free or subsidized access to air time for political campaign, and 2) access exists but is not provided in a transparent, equitable way.

        Sources

        Interviews: Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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    Contribution and Expenditure Restrictions

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      General Rules on Electoral Campaign Contributions
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        9
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        NO
        In law, cash contributions are banned.More about indicator

        The law does not explicitly regulate cash contributions.

        However, there is a general limit on contributions to political parties, as explained below. No such limit on contributions to candidates exists, but Article 44AA of RPO 1972 stipulates that candidates report all contributions in excess of Tk 5000 (USD 65).

        RPO 1972, Article 44AA “[At the time of submitting the nomination paper, every contesting candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer,] a statement, in the prescribed form, of the probable sources of fund to meet his election expenses showing- (a) the sum to be provided by him from his own income and the sources of such income; (b) the sum to be borrowed, or received as voluntary contribution, from his relations and the sources of their income; (c) the sum to be borrowed, or received as voluntary contribution, from any other person; (d) the sum to received as voluntary contribution from any political party, organisation or association; (e) the sum to be received from any other source 96 [: Provided that the provisions of sub-clauses (a) to (e) shall not apply to a case where the amount of such sum is not more than taka five thousand to be received as voluntary contribution or grant.]”

        Moreover, Article 90F (1) of ‘The Representation of the People Order, 1972’ ( as modified up to 2013) states:

        "Subject to the provision of clause (2), a registered political party shall be entitled to- (a) receive donation or grants from any person, company, group of companies or non-government organization except the sources mentioned in clause (1) of Article 44CC :

        Provided that such amount of donation or grants shall not exceed the following limits, in a calendar year- (i) in the case of a person, Tk 1 million (USD 129,34) to or property or service equivalent to it ; (ii) in the case of a company or organization, Tk 5 Million (USD 64,674 ) or property or service equivalent to it ."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where cash contributions are banned and all financial contributions must be made via the banking system.

        A MODERATE score is earned where cash contributions are allowed up to a maximum limit, regardless of the limit.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Articles 44AA, 90F. http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        MODERATE
        In law, there is a ban on anonymous contributions.More about indicator

        Every individual candidate is supposed to mention names of contributors while submitting the nomination paper to the Election Commission (RPO 1972, Article 44AA). However, this provision will be only applicable for donations above Tk 5,000 (USD 65). The same limit applies for political parties as well (RPO 1972, Article 44CC).

        “Article 44AA [At the time of submitting the nomination paper, every contesting candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer,] a statement, in the prescribed form, of the probable sources of fund to meet his election expenses showing- (a) the sum to be provided by him from his own income and the sources of such income; (b) the sum to be borrowed, or received as voluntary contribution, from his relations and the sources of their income; (c) the sum to be borrowed, or received as voluntary contribution, from any other person; (d) the sum to received as voluntary contribution from any political party, organisation or association; (e) the sum to be received from any other source [: Provided that the provisions of sub-clauses (a) to (e) shall not apply to a case where the amount of such sum is not more than taka five thousand to be received as voluntary contribution or grant.]”

        Conduction of Election Rules, 2008, Rule 29. “Description of Probable Sources of Fund – (1) Every contesting candidate will submit a description of probable sources of fund for electoral campaign with the nomination paper under Clause (1) of Article 44AA.”

        RPO, 1972, Article 44CC. “(1) Every political party setting up any candidate for election shall maintain proper account of all its income and expenditure for the period from the date of publication of notification under clause (1) of Article 11 till the completion of elections in all the constituencies in which it has set up candidates and such account shall show clearly the amount received by it as donation above [Tk 5000 (USD 65)] from any candidate or any person seeking nomination or from any other person or source giving their names and addresses and the amount received from each of them and the mode of receipt.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where the law stipulates that anonymous contributions are banned.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the ban exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where small anonymous donations are allowed up to a maximum threshold equal to or less than the equivalent to US$300.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        RPO 1972, Article 44AA, 44CC; http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

        Conduct of Election Rules, 2008, Rule 29 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/248.pdf

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        11
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        YES
        In law, in-kind donations to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        For individual candidates, any in-kind donations (that includes payment for stationery, postage, telegram and other petty expenses) has to be mentioned in writing by the election agent, and thus is to be reported in the election statement. Political parties that are registered to the Election Commission have to submit audit reports annually where they have to report all kinds of donations (both financial and in-kind services) from individuals and/ or companies/ organizations (Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9) (English translation not available).

        RPO 1972, Article 44B (2) (ii). “(2) No person other than the election agent of a contesting candidate shall incur any election expenses of such candidate: Provided that- (ii) any person may, if so authorised by the election agent in writing specifying a maximum amount, to the extent of such amount, make payment for stationery, postage, telegram and other petty expenses.”

        RPO 1972, Article 44C (1) (e). “(1) Every election agent of a contesting candidate shall, within 114[ thirty days] after the publication of the name of the returned candidate under Article 19, or Article 39, submit to the Returning Officer a return of election expenses in the prescribed form containing- (e) a statement of all sums received from any sources, together with evidence of such receipts, for the purpose of election expenses, specifying the name of every such source.]”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all in-kind donations must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is also earned if the requirement to report such information exists, but applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44B (2) (ii), Article 44C (1) (e) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

        Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9) (English translation not available) http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/308.pdf

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        12
        Score
        YES
        In law, loans to political parties and individual candidates must be reported.More about indicator

        Every individual candidate is supposed to mention names of lenders and amounts loaned while submitting the nomination paper to the Election Commission (RPO 1972, Article 44AA; Conduct of Election Rules, 2008, Rule 29 (1)). Political parties that are registered with the Election Commission have to submit audit reports annually where they have to report all kinds of financial transactions including loans (Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9) (English translation not available).

        RPO 1972, Article 44AA (b, c) “[At the time of submitting the nomination paper, every contesting candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer,] a statement, in the prescribed form, of the probable sources of fund to meet his election expenses showing- (b) the sum to be borrowed, or received as voluntary contribution, from his relations and the sources of their income; (c) the sum to be borrowed, or received as voluntary contribution, from any other person;”

        RPO 1972, Article 44C (1) (e). “(1) Every election agent of a contesting candidate shall, within 114[ thirty days] after the publication of the name of the returned candidate under Article 19, or Article 39, submit to the Returning Officer a return of election expenses in the prescribed form containing- (e) a statement of all sums received from any sources, together with evidence of such receipts, for the purpose of election expenses, specifying the name of every such source.]”

        Conduct of Election Rules, 2008, Rule 29. “Description of Probable Sources of Fund – (1) Every contesting candidate will submit a description of probable sources of fund for electoral campaign with the nomination paper under Clause (1) of Article 44AA.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where all loans must be reported to the oversight authority.

        A MODERATE score is earned where loans must be reported, but the requirement applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44AA (b, c), 44C http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

        Conduct of Election Rules, 2008, Rule 29 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/248.pdf

        Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9 (English translation not available) http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/308.pdf

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      Limits on Contributions and Expenditures during Electoral Campaign Periods
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        13
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from individuals are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Individuals are legally prohibited from contributing more than a certain amount to political parties. No such prohibition regulates individual contributions to candidates.

        Article 90F (1) of ‘The Representation of the People Order, 1972’ ( as modified up to 2013) states:

        "Subject to the provision of clause (2), a registered political party shall be entitled to- (a) receive donation or grants from any person, company, group of companies or non-government organization except the sources mentioned in clause (1) of Article 44CC :

        Provided that such amount of donation or grants shall not exceed the following limits, in a calendar year- (i) in the case of a person, Tk 1 million (USD 129,34) to or property or service equivalent to it.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) individuals may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where individuals are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from corporations are limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        No such law exists for corporations making donations to individual candidates. However, a registered political party is allowed to receive a maximum amount of Tk 5 million (USD 65,146) or property or service equivalent to it in a calendar year (RPO 1972, Article 90F).

        RPO 1972, Article 90F (1) (ii) “(1) Subject to the provision of clause (2), a registered political party shall be entitled to- Provided that such amount of donation or grants shall not exceed the following limits, in a calendar year- (ii) in the case of a company or organization, taka [fifty] lakh or property or service equivalent to it;”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) corporations may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law.

        A MODERATE score is earned where a maximum amount or ban exists, but it applies only to contributions for one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates). A MODERATE score is also earned where corporations are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 90F (1) (ii) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from foreign sources are banned.More about indicator

        There is no ban on individual candidates to receive foreign contributions. However, any registered political party cannot receive any gift, donation, grant or money from any other country, non-government organization or from any person who is not Bangladeshi or any organization established and maintained by such a person (RPO 1972, Article 90 F (2).

        “No registered political party shall receive any gift, donation, grant or money from any other country, or non-government organization assisted by foreign aid or from any person who is not a Bangladeshi by birth or any organization established or maintained by such person.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to receive contributions (financial or in-kind) from foreign sources.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the ban exists but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates), or 2) contributions from foreign sources are allowed to a maximum amount.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 90 F (2) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        16
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        MODERATE
        In law, contributions from third-party actors (unions, foundations, think tanks, political action committees, etc.) are limited to a maximum amount or banned.More about indicator

        In the case of a candidate, there is no maximum amount third party actors can donate. However, in the case of political parties the maximum amount of donation from an organization is Tk 5 million (USD 65,146) in one year (RPO 1972, Article 90F (1) (a) (ii). However, no explanation of the term ‘non-government organization’ is provided in the law.

        RPO 1972, Article 90F (1) (a) (ii) “(1) Subject to the provision of clause (2), a registered political party shall be entitled to- (a) receive donations or grants from any person, company, group of companies or non-government organization except the sources mentioned in clause (1) of Article 44CC: Provided that such amount of donation or grants shall not exceed the following limits, in a calendar year- … (ii) in the case of a company or organization, taka fifty lakh or property or service equivalent to it;”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors may not contribute more than a maximum amount established by the law, or 2) are forbidden from making any contribution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the maximum amount or ban exists only for the majority of third-party actors, but not all, or 2) the maximum amount or ban exists, but applies only to contributions for either political parties or individual candidates.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 90F (1) (a) (ii) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        17
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        YES
        In law, election campaign spending by political parties and individual candidates is limited to a maximum amount.More about indicator

        Individual candidates are allowed to spend the maximum amount determined by the Election Commission for each constituency, i.e., a maximum of Tk 2.5 million (USD 31,250) ( [RPO 1972, Article 44B (3)].

        The maximum amount a registered political party is allowed to spend for electoral campaign has been limited on the basis of the number candidates it nominates. If a party nominates more than 200 candidates, the maximum amount is Tk 45 million (USD 560,250); if the number of candidates is between 101 and 200, the limit of expenditure is Tk 30 million (USD 375,000); if the number of candidates is between 51 and 100, the limit of expenditure is Tk 15 million (USD 187,500); if the number of candidates is not more than 100, the limit of expenditure is Tk 10.5 million (USD 131,250); and if the number of candidates is not more than 50, the limit of expenditure is also Tk 7.5 million (USD 93,750) [RPO 1972, Article 44CC (3)]. However, the highest amount of expenditure for each candidate will be limited to Tk 150 thousand (USD 1,875).

        RPO 1972, Article 44B “(3) The election expenses of a contesting candidate, including the expenditure incurred for him by the political party which has nominated him as its candidate, shall not exceed taka [twenty five] lakh] [: Provided further that the election expenses of a contesting candidate shall be determined per capita on the basis of total number of electors in a constituency and a notification to that effect shall be published in the official Gazette.]”

        RPO 1972, Article 44CC (3) “(3) No such political party shall expend during the aforesaid period for election purposes, including election expenses for the contesting candidates set up by it, an amount exceeding- (a) where the number of such candidates is more than two hundred, taka four crore and fifty lakh], (b) where the number of such candidates is more than one hundred but not more than two hundred, [ taka three crore], (c) where the number of such candidates is, [ more than fifty but not more than one hundred, taka one crore and fifty lakh] [, (d) where the number of such candidates is not more than fifty, taka seventy five lakh: Provided that the amount mentioned in sub-clauses (a), (b), (c) and (d) shall be subject to maximum taka one lakh and fifty thousand per candidate [ :”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where it is forbidden for political parties and individual candidates to spend more than a certain amount in a political campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the maximum amount exists, but it applies only to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44B (3), Article 44CC (3) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        18
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        --
        Open Question: Do the national laws regulating political finance also apply to sub-national units? If not, to what extent do sub-national units have laws regulating political finance?More about indicator

        Elections are held for the sub-national units (local government institutions – LGIs) at different tiers. In the first tier there are Union Parishads (union councils); the second tier consists of Upazila Parishads (sub-district councils), while the third tier of LGIs are Zila Parishads (district councils). There are also Pourashabhas (municipalities) and City Corporations as urban LGIs.

        The national laws regulating political finance do not apply to the above-mentioned sub-national units. According to the relevant laws, the elections of these sub-national units are essentially non-partisan in nature, as formal support from the political parties is prohibited [City Corporation (Electoral Conduct) Rules, 2008, Rule 3; Pourashabha (Electoral Conduct) Rules, 2008, Rule 6 (2-e); Upazila Parishad (Electoral Conduct) Rules, 2013, Rule 8(4); Union Parishad (Electoral Conduct) Rules, 2013, Rule 6 (2-e)]. Since the elections of these sub-national units are non-political in nature, the national laws regulating political finance do not apply.

        However, there are separate laws and rules for regulating the electoral campaign finance for the elections of different sub-national units. There are specific codes of conduct for the respective candidates of the elections of different LGIs. There are different limits of expenditures for the candidates contesting in different tiers of LGI elections. For instance, according to the Local Government (City Corporation) Election Rules, 2010, a candidate contesting for the position of the Mayor in the city corporation elections has to submit the probable amount and the source for electoral campaign while submitting the nomination form (Rule 48). The candidate is allowed to spend a maximum amount of Tk 1.5 million in case of a city corporation with voters up to 500,000, Tk 2 million in case of a city corporation with voters up to 1 million, Tk 3 million in case of a city corporation with voters up to 2 million, and Tk 5 million in case of a city corporation with voters more than 2 million (Rule 49). The candidate also has to submit an election return with all detail financial information including sources and expenditures within 30 days after the election (Rule 51). The EC is bound to disclose the information on its website (Rule 52). The candidature may be cancelled, if after following the procedure and proper investigation, it is deemed evident that the candidate had spent more than the maximum amount as specified in the rules (Rule 61). Similarly, different upper limits of expenditures are set for different categories of candidates in elections of different levels of LGIs [see for instance the Local Government (City Corporation) Election Rules, 2010; the Local Government (Pourashabha) Election Rules, 2010; the Local Government (Upazila Parishad) Election Rules, 2013; the Local Government (Union Parishad) Election Rules, 2010].

        However, there is no maximum limit determined by the law for the candidates in receiving funds. There have been instances of violations of electoral code of conduct especially with regard to electoral campaign finance. These violations included, among other things, use of public resources such as government circuit houses, vehicles, and buying votes. For example, a local Awami League leader used his state vehicle for political purposes during the most recent campaign, despite the fact that politics are not supposed to factor in local level elections.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the applicability of national political finance regulations at the sub-national level, being sure to answer: 1) whether national laws are applicable to sub-national campaigns; 2) if not, to what extent do sub-national units have similar laws regulating political finance; and 3) whether there are any reports of problems arising from gaps in this framework.

        Sources

        Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Local Government (City Corporation) Election Rules, 2010 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/274.pdf

        Local Government (Pourashabha) Election Rules, 2010 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/277.pdf

        Local Government (Upazila Parishad) Election Rules, 2013 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/307.pdf

        Local Government (Union Parishad) Election Rules, 2010 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/282.pdf

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Towards an Effective Election Commission: Challenges and Way Out’, Transparency International Bangladesh, September 29, 2013 http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/esecen071013.pdf

        Farhana Rahman, Nahid Sharmin and Rabiul Islam, ‘Local Government Sector: Challenges of Good Governance and Way Forward’, TIB, May 25, 2014 (full report in Bangla) http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/2014/frdslgstudy14_bn.pdf

        'Allegations of using public vehicles', Prothom Alo, February 1, 2014 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/136917/

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        19
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        Open Question: What are the predominant sources of funding for electoral campaigns?More about indicator

        The candidates usually spend their own money for electoral campaigns. The sources also included loans and donations from relatives and friends, remittances, and donations from parties and other well-wishers. These the candidates show in the financial report they submit to the EC. For example, in the affidavit submitted for nomination before the 10th Parliamentary Election, one aspirant candidate of AL, Ubaidul Muktadir Chowdhury, showed that he would spend an amount of Tk 2.5 million (USD 31,250) collected from donations and loans on his electoral campaign. Sources indicate that submitted reports do not fully disclose donations from business firms and vested interest groups, and Chowdhury appears to have spent money collected from businesses during his campaign.

        According to a former Commissioner and the office bearers of a few parties, the main sources of party funds are annual subscription and renewal fees from its members. For example, in case of Tariqat Federation and Jatio Party, there are monthly subscriptions of the office bearers and MPs. Another source is donations from well-wishers, mainly businessmen, and common people. A certain amount comes from selling party publications. There are some parties who have income from property (such as Communist Party, JSD, AL). The party also receives donations from business companies which they do not disclose.

        During elections, another prominent source of funding for electoral campaigsn comes from selling party nomination forms to potential and aspirant candidates. In the 10th Parliamentary Election, the BAL sold nomination forms to 2604 aspirant candidates and earned around Tk 65.1 million (USD 813,750). According to a former Election Commissioner, another source of money for a number of political parties (including BAL and BNP) comes from branches of the party located in other countries, which are then carried into Bangladesh for use in political activities, including campaigns.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe the important sources of funding for electoral campaigns, being sure to answer: 1) where does the preponderance of funding come from - public, individual, corporate, or other; 2) to what extent do individual candidates self-finance; and 3) do political parties have other methods of generating campaign funds, such as owning their own businesses or trusts.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        “2604 bought nomination forms from AL”, Anwar Hossain and Abdur Rashid, Prothom Alo, November 19, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/77035/

        “Ubaidul will spend from ‘donation’ and ‘loan’ again this time”, Shahadat Hossain, Prothom Alo, December 22, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/105139/

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        20
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        Open Question: Have there been documented instances of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above (Section 2)?More about indicator

        There have not been any documented instance of violations of contribution or expenditure limits or any of the laws mentioned above in the most recent elections. As a common practice, especially during the national elections, candidates and parties receive and collect funds for electoral campaigns through various means.

        Nevertheless, according to the interviewed party representatives, journalists and former EC officials, unlimited contributions are often made (which is permissible, in law, as no contribution limits exist), and most of the candidates and parties spend beyond the expenditure limit set by the Electoral Commission (EC) (which is a violation of the law).

        The scenario during the 10th Parliamentary Election was quite different because the largest opposition did not take part. However, during the 9th Parliamentary Election, according to a research conducted by Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), 88 candidates contesting in 40 constituencies spent an average amount of Tk Tk 4,420,979 (USD 55,262) during the legal time frame for election campaign, which was around three times higher than the maximum limit set by the Electoral Commission. However, all of them showed their election expenditure within the maximum limit in the election return.

        Indeed, sources argue that most of the candidates over-spend. The candidates do not show all expenditures through bank transactions, although they are supposed to do so. Usually only the major transactions are displayed. According to an EC official, the system works only for the candidates who are fair and transparent in their activities, of whom there are very few. Most of the candidates cross the upper limit of campaign expenditure.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) violation of contribution limits, 2) violation of expenditure limits, and 3) financial contributions that circumvent the regulatory framework. The objective of this question is to learn more about the local context, so please explain the cases in as much detail as relevant.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, 2014, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Tracking the National Election Process’, TIB, April 2009. http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/rpesEPTFinal_en.pdf

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    Reporting and Public Disclosure

    More about category
    composite
    52
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      Reporting Requirements to the Oversight Entity
      More about category
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        21
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates report itemized contributions and expenditures both during and outside electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        During the campaign season, individual candidates have to submit their expected itemized contributions while submitting nomination papers before the election. After elections, a candidate has to submit a statement of all sums received from any sources, together with evidence of such receipts, for the purpose of election expenses, specifying the name of every such source [RPO, 1972, Article 44 (1) (a, e)]--this amounts to the itemized reporting of contributions during elections. During this period, political parties have to submit only all itemized expenditures for electoral campaigns three months after the election. However, parties are not bound to report itemized contributions in this report [RPO 1972, Article 44CC (1)].

        On the other hand, the political parties have to submit reports with contributions and expenditures while submitting the annual audited financial statement to the EC [Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9 (b)] (English version not available). However, there is no instruction mandating that the information on contributions and expenditures necessarily must be itemized.

        RPO 1972, Article 44C (1) (a, e) “(1) Every election agent of a contesting candidate shall, within [ thirty days] after the publication of the name of the returned candidate under Article 19, or Article 39, submit to the Returning Officer a return of election expenses in the prescribed form containing- (a) a statement of all payments made by him [ each day] together with all the bill and receipts; … (e) a statement of all sums received from any sources, together with evidence of such receipts, for the purpose of election expenses, specifying the name of every such source.]”

        RPO 1972, Article 44CC (1) “Every political party setting up any candidate for election shall maintain proper account of all its income and expenditure for the period from the date of publication of notification under clause (1) of Article 11 till the completion of elections in all the constituencies in which it has set up candidates and such account shall show clearly the amount received by it as donation above [taka five thousand] from any candidate or any person seeking nomination or from any other person or source giving their names and addresses and the amount received from each of them and the mode of receipt.”

        RPO 1972, Article 44CCC (1, 2) “(1) Every political party nominating any candidate for election shall submit to the 126[ Commission, for its scrutiny, within ninety days] of the completion of election in all constituencies, an expenditure statement giving details of the expenses incurred or authorised by it in connection with the election of its candidates for the period from the date of publication of the notification under clause (1) of Article 11 till the completion of elections in all the constituencies in which it has set up candidates. (2) The expenditure mentioned in clause (1) shall include, to be shown separately, expenditure incurred on general propagation of the manifesto, policy, aims and objects of the party and expenditure incurred or authorized in connection with the election of each of its contesting candidates.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates are required to report itemized contributions and expenditures to the oversight authority, both during and outside electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where: 1) the requirement applies for itemized contributions, but not for itemized expenditures, or 2) it applies only during the electoral campaign but not outside it. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement exists, but it only applies to one actor (whether political parties and individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9 (b)] (English version not available) http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/308.pdf

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44AA (1), Article 44C (1), Article 44CCC. (1). http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        22
        Score
        YES
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a monthly basis during the electoral campaign.More about indicator

        During the electoral campaign, only the candidate has to report his/her financial information while submitting the nomination paper, and another report one month after the election. In Bangladesh usually the duration for electoral campaign is three weeks before the election takes place.

        On the other hand, the political parties are not bound to submit any financial report before the election. A party has to submit its financial report on only electoral expenses three months after the election. This means that candidates submit two reports per three week electoral period, while parties submit one report.

        RPO, 1972, Article 44AA (1) "[ At the time of submitting the nomination paper, every contesting candidate shall submit to the Returning Officer,] a statement, in the prescribed form, of the probable sources of fund to meet his election expenses showing- ..."

        RPO, 1972, Article 44C (1) "Every election agent of a contesting candidate shall, within [ thirty days] after the publication of the name of the returned candidate under Article 19, or Article 39, submit to the Returning Officer a return of election expenses in the prescribed form containing- ..."

        RPO, 1972, Article 44CCC. (1) "Every political party nominating any candidate for election shall submit to the [ Commission, for its scrutiny, within ninety days] of the completion of election in all constituencies, an expenditure statement giving details of the expenses incurred or authorised by it in connection with the election of its candidates for the period from the date of publication of the notification under clause (1) of Article 11 till the completion of elections in all the constituencies in which it has set up candidates."

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report monthly their financial information to the oversight authority during the electoral campaign.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a quarterly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44AA (1), Article 44C (1), Article 44CCC. (1). http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        23
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        MODERATE
        In law, political parties and individual candidates are required to report their financial information on a quarterly basis outside of electoral campaign periods.More about indicator

        Individual candidates have no obligation to make reports outside of the campaign period. On the other hand, by rule 9 of the Political Party Registration Rules, a registered political party is obliged to submit an annual financial statement that has to be audited by a registered audit firm.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where political parties and individual candidates must report quarterly their financial information to the oversight authority outside of electoral campaign periods.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the requirement exists on a yearly basis. A MODERATE score is also earned where the requirement only applies to one actor (whether political parties or individual candidates).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9 (b)] (English version not available) http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/308.pdf

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44AA (1), Article 44C (1), Article 44CCC. (1). http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        24
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        0
        In practice, to what extent do political parties and individual candidates report itemized financial information monthly?More about indicator

        According to law, after the national Parliamentary Election, the parties and individual candidates are supposed to submit (partially) itemized financial statements within 90 days and 30 days, respectively (see indicators #21-23 for more information). Both types of actors in practice generally meet these requirements, but reports are rarely itemized and complete.

        In practice, almost all the political parties (except the Jatiyo Party-Ershad) have submitted expenditures for the electoral campaign within the stipulated three months after the 10th Parliamentary Election, held in Januray 5, 2014. For instance, Tariqat Federation submitted its financial report on electoral campaign of an amount of around Tk 1.16 million (USD 14,500). However, parties did not report itemized contributions and expenditures; rather, they only showed the amount spent in lump sums. For instance in the election return, Bangladesh Awami League showed an amount of Tk 25,392,712 (USD 317,409) spent for campaign, transport, public meetings, staff cost, costs incurred for lodging and administrative works and miscellaneous.

        In terms of individual candidates, it is found that all the candidates submitted itemized financial information on their probable sources of funding, including the amount and nature of their campaign funds while submitting the nomination form to the EC. Besides, they also submitted the election campaign expenses within 30 days. For example, the account of the leader of Awami League and current Prime Minister's expenditure was submitted to Election Commission (EC) on February 6, 2014. She had spent about Tk 1 million (USD 12,934) for campaigning in two constituencies that she had contested in the 10th general election in January 5, 2014.

        However, the candidates do not show the sources of funds and amounts received for this campaign in the post-election expenditure report. For instance, Monoranajan Shil Gopal, an elected MP from BAL showed in his return the total amount (Tk 1,498,278 [USD 19,339]) spent for his electoral campaign with breakdown of lump sums and supporting vouchers. He did not show the sources of funds and amounts received for this campaign.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates report on their financial information monthly, and 2) the reports include both itemized contributions and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the reports are occasionally general rather than itemized or don't contain all accounts, or 2) the reporting frequency is quarterly.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) political parties and individual candidates rarely or never file reports, 2) the reports are filed but are rarely or never itemized or refer only to either contributions or expenditures, or 3) the reporting frequency is less than quarterly.

        Sources

        Interviews: Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Electoral Commission site for candidates' financial statements: http://123.49.39.5/asset2013/

        ‘Hasina spent Tk 1 mln on polls campaign’, bdnews24.com, February 7, 2014, Dhaka

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        25
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        25
        In practice, to what extent do financial reports by political parties and individual candidates include all types of contributions?More about indicator

        According to law, the candidates of national elections are bound to submit detailed financial information on all types of expected contributions while submitting the nomination paper. In practice, as instructed in the law, all the candidates submit in detail the names of their expected contributors, relationship with them, address, amount of the fund, source of the fund, and nature of the contribution (whether own money, donation or loan) in a structured format.

        After elections, candidates submit information on major sums of expenditure with supporting documents (vouchers etc.). For instance, Monoranajan Shil Gopal, an elected MP from BAL showed in his return the total amount (Tk 1,498,278 [USD 19,339]) spent for his electoral campaign with breakdown of heads and supporting vouchers. However, in the electoral return, he did not show the sources of funds and amounts received.

        On the other hand, the political parties also are bound to submit financial reports three months after the national election takes place. However, as the present law does not make it compulsory for the parties to provide detailed information of the contributions for electoral campaigns, the parties do not provide this information.

        During submission of yearly audit reports to the EC, the political parties do not show contributions from business organizations/ firms; they only show income from subscriptions, publications and individual donations. The parties also do not show the money they receive from outside the country through unofficial channels.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) reports include an itemized list of all contributions indicating their type (in-kind, cash where allowed, etc.) and amount (estimated value for in-kind contributions), and 2) contain donors' names and addresses (or other personal identifier).

        A 50 score is earned where only one of the two conditions listed in the 100 criteria is met.

        A 0 score is earned where neither condition is met.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Election return of BAL: http://ecs.gov.bd/NewsFilesEng/199.PDF

        Link of EC website on political parties' return: http://ecs.gov.bd/English/QLTemplate1.php?ParameterQLSCatID=69

        Electoral return of Monoranjan Shil Gopal: http://123.49.39.5/asset2013/pdfs/121282461.pdf

        “AL richest party ahead of Jamaat: Annual report to EC shows BNP, JP, Jamaat spend more than they earn”, Wasim Bin Habib and Prabir Barua Chowdhury, Daily Star, August 1, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/al-richest-party-ahead-of-jamaat/

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      Availability of Electoral Campaigns' Financial Information to the Public
      More about category
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        26
        Score
        MODERATE
        In law, financial information from political parties and individual candidates must be available to the public.More about indicator

        According to the law, the financial information on the electoral expenditure of the political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public in different ways. The information can be inspected by any person on payment of a prescribed fee, and can be collected through submitting an application and on payment of a prescribed fee. Finally the Electoral Commission is bound to publish this information in the commission’s website.

        However, it is not mentioned in the law that the annual audited financial statements of political parties be made available for the public or be published in the EC’s website.

        RPO, 1972, Article 44D “(1) The statement, return and documents submitted under Articles 44AA, 44C and 44CCC shall be kept by the Returning Officer or the Commission, as the case may be, in his or its office or at such other convenient place as he or it may think fit and shall, during one year from the date of receipt, be open for inspection by any person on payment of the prescribed fees. (2) The Commission or the Retuning Officer shall, on an application made in this behalf and on payment of the prescribed fees, give any person copies of any statement, return or document or any part thereof kept under clause (1). (3) The copies of the statements, return or documents under clause (1) shall be published in the website of the Commission.]”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where in law financial information of political parties and individual candidates must be made available to the public, whether online or digitally within two days of request.

        A MODERATE score is earned where financial information must be made available to the public, but no requirement exists regarding cost, format or number of days within which it must be made available.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972 http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        27
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        50
        In practice, to what extent can citizens easily access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Citizens can access the financial information of all political parties and individual candidates easily to the extent that such information is available at the Electoral Commission.

        Following the law, candidates submit their financial information before and after the election to the EC. Likewise the parties submit their financial information after the election. The EC then publishes these documents on its website, where it is publicly accessible. Anyone can download the documents from the website. Moreover, citizens can also avail copies of these documents directly from the EC upon payment (cost of photocopying) as instructed in the law. However, the formats submitted are not machine-readable.

        However, during the campaign period of the 10th Parliamentary Election held this year, a number of newspapers published series of reports on the trend of increasing wealth of the candidates, which was believed to have created a negative impression among the people. A section of the government high officials who were also contesting in the election tried to influence the EC to stop disclosing the financial information of the candidates. For a brief period of time (two days) it became impossible to access the EC website to collect candidates’ affidavits. However, the EC followed the law, and access to such information remained open.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online, 2) it can be obtained digitally within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily digital or in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Interviews: Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan, Director, Research and Policy, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), August 8, 2014, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        “'Glitch' in EC website, Access to affidavits of polls candidates becomes difficult”, Daily Star, December 26, 2013 http://www.thedailystar.net/newsarchive/glitch-in-ec-website-4035

        “EC website could not be accessed yesterday to collect candidates’ affidavits”, Daily Prothom Alo, December 25, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/107875/

        “EC says no to AL: States it is legally bound to disclose wealth info of candidates in polls”, Daily Star, December 25, 2013 http://www.thedailystar.net/newsarchive/ec-says-no-to-al-3872

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        28
        Score
        50
        In practice, to what extent is financial information published in a standardized format?More about indicator

        The financial information provided by the candidates and parties are published in a standardized format. The financial statements are submitted in a structured format prepared by the Electoral Commission. All the contributions and expenditure heads are shown along with supporting documents/ vouchers as much as possible. It is important to note that the documents are published through a readable format (such as .pdf), but not in a usable format (such as .xls or .csv).

        However, the formats that the candidates and parties have to use are defective in the sense that these do not follow a standard auditing format. Rather the information the format requires is filled in and then attested/ endorsed by a certified audit firm. Secondly, some items (such as office bearers’ salary and source of fund) are not mentioned in the format. As a result the parties do not show the details of the contributors and amount they had received. Thirdly, the financial statement covers a calendar year, not a fiscal year. Fourthly, in case of candidates, there is lack of data (source of income, valuation/ market rate) in their submitted financial reports.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where financial information for all political parties and individual candidates is available to the public in a standardized format.

        A 50 score is earned where only part of the information is published in a standardized format. A 50 score is also earned where the information is standardized, but it doesn't cover all political parties and individual candidates.

        A 0 score is earned where financial information is not available in a standardized format.

        Sources

        Interviews: Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan, Director, Research and Policy, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), August 8, 2014, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Web link of EC on submitted election returns by candidates: http://123.49.39.5/asset2013/index_expense.php

        Web link of EC on submitted election returns by parties: http://ecs.gov.bd/English/QLTemplate1.php?ParameterQLSCatID=69

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        29
        Score
        100
        In practice, to what extent do mainstream journalism media outlets use political finance data in their reporting?More about indicator

        There is a mixed picture of using political finance data by the media in Bangladesh.

        The mainstream print media extensively used the financial information provided by the candidates in their affidavits while submitting the nomination papers to the EC. Most of the newspapers published series of reports on the income, sources of income, wealth, possible sources of fund for electoral campaign and other financial status of the candidates. The newspapers included the Daily Star, Independent, New Age, Prothom Alo, Jugantor, and Ittefaq – these papers have the higherst number of subscriptions in Bangladesh.

        On the other hand, during the 10th Parliamentary Elections, the electronic media hardly used political finance data to report on the candidates or the political parties. Rather they aired the day-to-day activities of the parties.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three independent mainstream journalism media outlets have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their reporting.

        A 50 score is earned where one independent mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        A 0 score is earned where no mainstream journalism media outlet has used officially published financial information as part of its reporting.

        Sources

        Interviews: Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Nazrana Chowdhury, Senior Correspondent, NTV, August 7, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        ‘Rejoinder, our reply’, Daily Star, December 21, 2013 http://www.thedailystar.net/rejoinder-our-reply-3329

        ‘Politics Of Fortune’, Sohrab Hossain, Daily Star, December 22, 2013 http://www.thedailystar.net/politics-of-fortune-3443

        “Ubaidul will spend from ‘donation’ and ‘loan’ again this time”, Shahadat Hossain, Prothom Alo, December 22, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/105139/

        'Amusing increase of wealth of many MPs and ministers', Jugantor, December 21, 2013 http://ejugantor.com/2013/12/21/index.php

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        30
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        25
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws?More about indicator

        News reports are published on non-submission of electoral returns by candidates and parties, and non-submission of annual audited financial statements of the parties. However, reports on details of the audited financial statements are not published as access to the detailed financial information of parties is non-existent, for both the media and other stakeholders.

        News reports on submission of electoral returns after the 10th Parliamentary Election held early this year were published in many newspapers. The news reports covered the information on how many candidates and parties did not submit the returns.

        Like previous years, news reports on submission of annual audited financial statement of parties in 2013 were published in different newspapers. According to the reports, 27 parties submitted the annual audited statements on July 31, while the rest applied for extension of the submission period.

        The electronic media do not cover such news.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of violation or abuse of political finance laws during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Interviews: Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Nazrana Chowdhury, Senior Correspondent, NTV, August 7, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        ‘AL richest party ahead of Jamaat: Annual report to EC shows BNP, JP, Jamaat spend more than they earn’, Wasim Bin Habib and Prabir Barua Chowdhury, Daily Star, August 1, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/al-richest-party-ahead-of-jamaat/

        ‘Financial statements of political parties’, Daily Prothom Alo, August 1, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/33154/

        ‘Upazila Polls: Third phase on March 15’, The Daily Star, February 7, 2014 http://www.thedailystar.net/third-phase-on-march-15-10273

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        75
        In practice, to what extent were there no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying?More about indicator

        In the 10th Parliamentary Election held in January 2014, the largest opposition coalition led by BNP did not participate. As a result in more than 50% of the constituencies there were no elections and the single candidate was declared elected by the Electoral Commission. Even in rest of the constituencies where more than one candidate contested, the enthusiasm from the part of voters was very low. As a result the election environment was quite dull, and there was hardly any incentive for the candidates buy votes.

        Nevertheless, there was an instance in Pirojpur district where a sitting MP (Anwar Hossain of BAL) was alleged to be distributing money among the village police groups to ensure votes in favor of him. This was immediately reported by the concerned Returning Officer to the Deputy Commissioner and District Superintendent of Police.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where there were no news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 50 score is earned where there were news reports or other documented incidents of no more than two cases of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        A 0 score is earned where there were frequent news reports or other documented incidents of vote-buying during the most recent national election.

        Sources

        Interviews: Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        “Allegations against a candidate to give money to village police”, local correspondent, Prothom Alo, January 2, 2014 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/113719/

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        75
        In practice, to what extent do civil society organizations use political finance data?More about indicator

        The financial information of candidates of the 10th Parliamentary Election was used by two civil society organizations: Shujan and Transparency International Bangladesh. Shujan collected information of 48 candidates who were also serving in important positions of the government. The analysis showed that their income increase 582% on an average, compared to the information they had provided during the 9th Parliamentary Election in 2008. It collected the data from the EC website.

        TIB, on the other hand, downloaded all the affidavits provided on the EC website, with an aim to analyze the growth of wealth and income of all the candidates compared to the previous election. However, TIB did not complete the study as it would have been duplication of what Shujan have done.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where at least three civil society organizations have used officially published political party or individual candidate financial information as part of their advocacy or awareness work.

        A 50 score is earned where one civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its advocacy or awareness work.

        A 0 score is earned where no civil society organization has used officially published financial information as part of its work.

        Sources

        Interview: Mohammad Rafiqul Hassan, Director, Research and Policy, Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), August 8, 2014, Banani, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        “Sujan’s Analysis of financial information of 48 candidates serving in important positions”, Prothom Alo, December 28, 2013 http://www.prothom-alo.com/bangladesh/article/109762/

        “Of, for and by the rich, beyond ordinary people’s reach”, New Age, April 22, 2014 http://newagebd.net/4832/of-for-and-by-the-rich-beyond-ordinary-peoples-reach/#sthash.ZGfYg5kN.dpuf

        'Record of wealth accumulation by former state minister Mahbubur', Jugantor, December 22, 2013 http://www.ejugantor.com/2013/12/22/index.php

        'Information disclosure of candidates contesting in 10th parliamentary election', Shujan, January 2, 2014 http://shujanbd.files.wordpress.com/2014/01/analysis_10th-parliament-constituency-300.pdf

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        Open Question: Have there been political finance legal reforms or reform bills presented to the legislature in the last 10 years?More about indicator

        There have been a number of instances over the last ten years when political finance legal reforms were made through enactment of new laws and rules or amendment of the existing laws.

        The most significant reforms were made through an amendment in the Representation of the People Order, 1972 in 2008, which was later presented in the 9th Parliament and enacted as a law in 2009. This happened following the reconstitution of the Electoral Commission in 2007. The caretaker government and the EC during late 2006 were heavily criticized across the board for gross failures in creating a congenial environment for the forthcoming 9th national election. Against this backdrop the election was postponed and a new caretaker government backed by the armed forces took charge on 11 January 2007. They took some initiatives for institutional, legal and policy reform aiming at reducing the influence of corruption and black money in politics in general and elections in particular. The newly appointed EC in 2007 undertook a number of reform initiatives with regard to political finance through amendments in the Representation of the People Order, 1972. These included making registration of political parties mandatory, re-determining the highest limit of campaign expenditure for both the candidates and parties, increasing the degree of punitive measures in case of violation of electoral laws and rules. Registration of the political parties was made contingent upon the fulfillment of certain prescribed conditions including the submission of a copy of the applicant party’s constitution, statements of bank accounts and sources of funds. A registered party is also required under the rules to submit an audited financial report to the commission every year.

        Based on the experience and dialogues with the political parties in 2011, the EC proposed a few more amendments to the RPO 1972 to the government. The proposed amendments, among other things, included the provision of weekly submission of election expenditures by every candidate. However, the government did not consider the proposal.

        Before the 10th Parliamentary Election held in January 2014, a few amendments were brought in the RPO, 1972 with regard to political finance. Through the amendments, the maximum limit of expenditure for a candidate was made higher up to Tk 2.5 million (USD 31,250) for one constituency. The limit on donations to a political party by a company/ organization in one year was also made higher up to Tk 5 million (USD 62,500), and by an individual up to Tk 1 million (USD 12,500).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please list and describe all documented instances of: 1) political finance reforms, including bills passed, executive orders signed, court rulings and any other legal act that had a direct effect on existent political finance regulation, and 2) all legal reform attempts presented to the legislature even if they were not approved. Please describe the political context that produced the reforms or reform attempts.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Towards an Effective Election Commission: Challenges and Way Out’, Transparency International Bangladesh, September 29, 2013 http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/esecen071013.pdf

        http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

        ATM Shamsul Huda, ‘Its meaning, attributes and limit: Independence of Bangladesh Election Commission’, The Daily Star, March 17, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/its-meaning-attributes-and-limit/

        Mohammad Abu Hena, ‘The challenge before the Election Commission’, The Daily Star, March 17, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/the-challenge-before-the-election-commission/

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    Third Party Actors

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      Applicability of the Law to Third-Party Actors
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        NO
        In law, third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority and the information is made publicly available.More about indicator

        No law exists to mandate that third party actors report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns. Like other citizens and organizations, the third party actors are obliged to submit financial reports to tax authorities annually, but no available literature indicates that these reports include contributions or expenditures related to electoral campaigns in any fashion.

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) third-party actors are required to report to the oversight authority itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, and 2) the information must be publicly available.

        A MODERATE score is earned where third-party actors are required to report itemized contributions received and expenditures related to their support of electoral campaigns, but the information is not required to be publicly available. A MODERATE score is also earned where regulations exist, but only apply to electoral campaigns of one actor (whether political party or individual candidate).

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        No such law exists.

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        0
        In practice, to what extent do third-party actors (foundations, think tanks, unions, political action committees, etc.) report itemized contributions received and expenditures to an oversight authority?More about indicator

        As far as the electoral campaign is concerned, there is no provision in the electoral laws for third-party actors to report contributions received and expenditure to an oversight authority like the Electoral Commission, let alone that financial reports be itemized. In practice, third-party actors such as foundations, NGOs, think tanks, or unions do not contribute in the electoral campaign for or against a party or a candidate, nor do they file any such reports. Even when unions do undertake political activities, they make no such reports.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all third-party actors report to an oversight authority both itemized contributions received and itemized expenditures.

        A 50 score is earned where third-party actors report to an oversight authority either itemized contributions received or expenditures, but not both. A 50 score is also earned where the reports refer only to one type of third-party actor, but do not cover others.

        A 0 score is earned where third-party actors rarely or never report itemized contributions received or expenditures.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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        0
        In practice, to what extent can journalists and citizens easily access the financial information of third party actors, including the political spending of those actors in support of political parties and individual candidates?More about indicator

        Since third-party actors such as foundations, NGOs, think tanks, or unions do not contribute in the electoral campaign for or against a party or a candidate and do not file financial reports of such activity with any authority, there is no question for the journalists or citizens access the financial information of these actors.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) all relevant financial information is freely available online or in hard copy at the cost of photocopying, 2) it can be obtained within two days of requesting it, and 3) it is in a machine readable format (for example in csv or xml format).

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) information is available but in some cases is incomplete or lacking detail, 2) obtaining complete information takes up to a month, or 3) it's not necessarily in machine readable format.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the information is not publicly available, or 2) obtaining it takes more than three months, or 3) the cost of obtaining it is prohibitive for the regular citizen.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, 2014, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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        Open Question: Please describe how third party-actors (even if they are not regulated by your country's laws) obtain contributions and spend in support of political parties and/or individual candidates.More about indicator

        There are various roles played by a third-party actors during national elections in Bangladesh. There are some NGOs such as Shujan and TIB who played a significant role in the campaign on electoral process or raising public awareness on voting behavior through programs such as ‘Choose the Right Candidate’.

        In terms of influencing the vote casting, according to the Secretary General of the Jatio Party, there are four kinds of third-party actors in Bangladesh: o NGOs who influence voters to cast votes for particular parties. o Underground parties/ groups who often influence a group of people in favor or against a party; this depends on which party, if won, may offer advantages. For instance, a number of underground extremist groups operate in the south-western part of the country. These groups have influence in small pockets of that area. o Locally influential or religious leaders who can and sometimes do influence voters to cast vote for any particular party. o Local government representatives who are reportable to the Ministry of Local Government; due to this reason for the last few decades there is a tradition that the ruling political party appoints the party Secretary General as the minister for local government.

        In terms of trade unions, they are affiliated indirectly with the Political parties. Normally, some leaders of trade unions are involved in political campaigns in their personal capacity but as intuitions, the trade unions are not directly involved in political campaign.

        However, such actors do not make electoral contributions to campaigns in Bangladesh, and there is no documented evidence of such incidents. Rather the candidates and the parties often use these third party actors as their vanguard in electoral campaigns, and often funds are channeled through these actors in this purpose. Very little concrete information, however, is available on this topic.

        Scoring Criteria

        To answer this question please: 1) list the types of third-party actors that exist in your country and describe how they work to influence campaigns, 2) explain how important such actors are or not in the context of campaigns, including whether their expenditures are substantial in relation to that of political parties and individual candidates, and 3) if documented evidence indicates they circumvent laws intended to regulate political finance, please explain how and include references to the evidence.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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    Monitoring and Enforcement

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      Monitoring Capabilities
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        MODERATE
        In law, political finance information is monitored by an independent oversight authority.More about indicator

        According to the law, the Election Commission has the authority to collect all financial information on the electoral expenses of individual candidates and political parties. All individual candidates and political parties participating in a national election must submit all the financial information including contributions and expenditures related to electoral campaign (for details see Chapter III of RPO, 1972). No law gives the EC the authority to investigate or audit political finance.

        Moreover, according to the registration rules, all registered political parties are bound to submit annual audited financial statements to the EC (Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9).

        The Constitution of Bangladesh, Article 118 (4) “The Election Commission shall be independent in the exercise of its functions and subject only to this Constitution and any other law.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) an independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, and 2) the authority has investigation and audit powers.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the independent oversight authority is mandated to monitor political finance information, but doesn't have investigation or audit powers.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Constitution of Bangladesh, Part VII (Elections) Articles 118 – 126
        http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=367

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Chapter IIIA: Election Expenses (Articles 44A – 44D) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

        Political Party Registration Rules 2008, Rule 9 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/308.pdf

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        NO
        In law, high-level appointments to the oversight authority are based on merit.More about indicator

        No such law exists. In the Constitution of Bangladesh there is no guidance provided on how the Chief Election Commissioner or other Election Commissioners will be appointed, and what their eligibility will be.

        The Constitution of Bangladesh, Article 118 (1) “(1) There shall be an Election Commission for Bangladesh consisting of [the Chief Election Commissioner and not more than four Election Commissioners] and the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners (if any) shall, subject to the provisions of any law made in that behalf, be made by the President.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process; and 2) appointees must be free of conflicts of interest due to personal loyalties, family connections, political party affiliations, business partners or other biases.

        A MODERATE score is earned where high-level appointments must be based on merit in a public appointment process, but the regulations don't forbid appointments involving conflicts of interest or other biases.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Constitution of Bangladesh, Article 118 (1) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=367

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        25
        In practice, to what extent are high-level appointments to the oversight authority based on merit?More about indicator

        With regard to the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Commissioners, there is no guidance provided in the present Constitution. Moreover, there is no law specifying the selection criteria of the CEC and the Commissioners. Since the independence of Bangladesh the President has had the responsibility of appointing the CEC and other Commissioners, with advice from the Prime Minister, who is the leader of the ruling party. It is widely believed that appointments have always been done with partisan interest.

        A draft law describing the process and required credentials for such appointment was prepared by the EC and was sent to the last Caretaker Government in 2008, and to the elected government in November 2011 for consideration. However, despite commitments expressed at different times, to date no initiative has observed from the government in this regard.

        In early 2012, a ‘Search Committee’ was formed by the government for the purpose of appointing the CEC and four Commissioners. The aim of this committee was to select probable candidates for the positions through holding dialogues with the political parties. A list was prepared after the dialogues (in which the major opposition party did not participate). From the list one CEC and four other Commissioners were appointed in February 2012.

        The appointment of the present CEC and other commissioners was transparent. The appointed personnel have good track record and credentials to their credit. However, to many (some of the party representatives, a former EC official and journalists), the appointment cannot be termed as merit-based, as there are no criteria set for appointment for these positions. Furthermore, there is no approved / formal procedure for such appointments and no guidance in any law.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) there is an advertised competition and public vetting process, 2) candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed.

        A 50 score is earned where the public competition is usually advertised and the vetting process public, but exceptions exist. A 50 score is also earned where candidates with the most merit and without conflicts of interest or other biases are appointed but exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where there's rarely or never a public competition, or appointees are rarely selected on merit or without conflicts of interest or other biases.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Towards an Effective Election Commission: Challenges and Way Out’, Transparency International Bangladesh, September 29, 2013 http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/esecen071013.pdf

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        YES
        In law, the independence of high-level appointees is guaranteed.More about indicator

        According to the Constitution of Bangladesh, the EC is declared as an independent body in exercising its functions. The Commissioners are appointed for a fixed term of five years, and to be removed, if required, only on grounds and process as a judge of the Supreme Court. According to the Constitution, the EC shall be independent in exercising its functions. The Constitution of Bangladesh, Article 118 (4, 5) “(3) Subject to the provisions of this Constitution the term of office of an Election Commissioner shall be five years from the date on which he enters upon his office, (4) The Election Commission shall be independent in the exercise of its functions and subject only to this Constitution and any other law. (5) Subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament, the conditions of service of Election Commissioners shall be such as the President may, by order, determine: Provided that an Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except in like manner and on the like grounds as a Judge of the [ Supreme Court].”

        As per law they are independent and can review the complaints and take action and decisions regarding political financing. For example, article 44CC (5) of RPO, 1972 ( as amended up to 2013) states that ‘If any political party contravenes any provision of this Article, it shall be punishable with fine which may extend to taka ten lakh (Tk. 10,00000)’.

        Again, article 44CCC (5) of RPO, 1972 (as amended up to 2013) states that ‘If any registered political party fails to submit its expenditure statement within the time specified in clause (1), the Commission shall issue a notice of warning directing it to submit the statement within thirty days and if the concerned registered political party fails to submit it within that period of time, the Commission may, subject to payment of a fine of taka ten thousand, extend the time for another fifteen days, and if such registered political party fails to submit its statement within that extended time, the Commission may cancel its registration.]

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, 2) the law establishes security of tenure, and 3) removal or disciplinary actions are based on due process conducted by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A MODERATE score is earned where appointees have the authority or mandate to review cases and issue decisions, BUT one of the second two conditions mentioned in the YES criteria is not met.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Constitution of Bangladesh, Article 118 (4, 5) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=367

        Representation of the People Order, 1972 (as amended up to 2013), Article 44 http://www.ecs.gov.bd/MenuExternalFilesEng/378.pdf

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        25
        In practice, to what extent is the independence of high-level appointees guaranteed?More about indicator

        The independence of the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners is guaranteed in the Constitution. The EC is in full control of its secretariat, independent of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) (it had been under the PMO till 2008) or any other ministry of the government. It enjoys discrete freedom to spend money from its budget without any reference to the Ministry of Finance. The EC has its own manpower up to the upazila (sub-district) level. The political parties have been brought under a supervision mechanism, and are now required to be registered as a pre-condition to take part in the election. Tougher punitive measures including cancellation of candidature are now at the disposal of the EC for gross violation of the code of conduct during the election campaign.

        However, such independence and authority, in many cases, is not exercised by the office bearers of the EC. In recent years the involvement of political parties in the local government elections became so blatant that it was difficult for the EC to control. The EC is also dependent on the government in conducting these elections. In some cases the EC has failed to declare election schedules independently thereby stalling the election (for example, the Dhaka City Corporation election).

        Most recently, in conducting the 10th Parliamentary Election, the EC did not perform as a neutral body. The then government/ party in power made the EC organize an election at its will, and the election became farcical. The Commissioners failed to apply their constitutional power in organizing a free and fair election with participation of all parties. The CEC and other Commissioners are appointed by the party in power through the President, and it is ensured that the high level EC officials are supporters of the government party. As a result, it is difficult for the Commissioners to work independently without being subject to fear and favor, as demonstrated in the last election.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where all of the following conditions are met: 1) appointees review cases and issue decisions without fear or favor from other branches of government, and 2) appointees are granted security of tenure and 3) no appointees are removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 50 score is earned where any of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees generally operate without fear or favor from other branches of government but exceptions exist, or 2) some but not all appointees are granted security of tenure, or 3) appointees are occasionally removed, disciplined or transferred without due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        A 0 score is earned where at least one of the following conditions apply: 1) appointees operate with fear or favor from other branches of government, or 2) are not granted security of tenure, or 3) are usually removed, disciplined or transferred without observing due process by a peer panel or independent oversight body.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Monoronjon Shil Gopal, MP, Bangladesh Awami League, August 13, MP Hostels, Manik Mia Avenue, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Towards an Effective Election Commission: Challenges and Way Out’, Transparency International Bangladesh, September 29, 2013 http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/esecen071013.pdf

        ATM Shamsul Huda, ‘Its meaning, attributes and limit: Independence of Bangladesh Election Commission’, The Daily Star, March 17, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/its-meaning-attributes-and-limit/

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        Open Question: How does decision-making work in the oversight authority?More about indicator

        There is a proper procedure of decision making in the EC. The decision-making is done through meetings among the Commissioners. There is the Election Commission (Procedure) Rules 2010 following which all decisions are taken through one of the following processes: discussion in the Commissioners’ meetings, taking approval from Election Commissioners through circulations, taking approval from Election Commissioners through documentation, or according to the decision of the CEC if a meeting cannot be called under an emergency situation (Rule 5). Such decisions include performing regular tasks pertaining to the mandates of the EC (voter list updating, delimitation of constituencies, organizing elections etc.), policy interventions such as developing new rules, amendments in the law, and administrative decisions relating to human resource management.

        Most of the time the decisions are taken unanimously. However, if there is discontent, decisions are taken by majority. All decisions are documented and disseminated among the concerned officials.

        There have been complaints from different quarters including the political parties, the civil society and the media against some of the decisions made by the EC for being politicized. Some of the allegations include registration of a controversial political party before the 10th Parliamentary Election, delimitation of constituencies, non-disclosure of political parties' financial information, and going for holding the 10th Parliamentary Election without the participation of the largest opposition party (see TIB's study on the EC, 2013).

        Scoring Criteria

        Please describe: 1) the composition of the decision-making body within the oversight authority, 2) the type of decisions it's allowed to make and makes in practice, and 3) in which cases majority is required. If there have been well substantiated complaints about the decision-making process being ineffective or politicized please explain.

        Sources

        Interview: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Towards an Effective Election Commission: Challenges and Way Out’, Transparency International Bangladesh, September 29, 2013 http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/esecen071013.pdf

        The Election Commission (Procedure) Rules 2010 (in Bangla; not available on the web)

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        0
        In practice, to what extent does the authority have sufficient capacity to monitor political finance regulations?More about indicator

        According to Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, the EC has authority and capacity to monitor some political finance regulations, if it wants to. During every election, an Electoral Enquiry Committees (EEC) comprised of a district judge and administrative / executive magistrates is formed to monitor and investigate violations of electoral laws. There are constituency-based monitoring teams under the respective Returning Officers, who monitor the expenditure of candidates. Nevertheless, it is not possible with the present human resource to monitor the expenditure of all the candidates. Moreover, the EC also did not have the capacity to undertake any investigation on the submitted returns, as it does not have the necessary technical human resources. According to an EC official, due to political bias as well as pressure it is also not possible for the government audit team to report or give objection against candidates from the government party.

        There is currently no system/ mechanism in the EC to scrutinize party audit reports. The EC does not meaningfully review, audit, or verify the submitted returns of the candidates and parties, due to the lack of legal obligation. However, anyone or organization can verify the statements as these are disclosed to the people through the website. There is no technical team for such auditing within the EC.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) the authority has sufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, and 2) it has sufficient staff to review all incoming reports.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) the authority has insufficient budget to monitor all incoming reports, or 2) its staff can only review half of all incoming reports.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) the authority can't fulfill most of its essential functions due to budget constraints, or 2) its staff only has the capacity to review 25% or less of all incoming reports.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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        In practice, to what extent does the authority conduct investigations or audits when necessary?More about indicator

        There was no on-field monitoring by the Electoral Commission on electoral expenditure during the 10th Parliamentary Election. Afterwards, the EC also did not investigate any of the submitted returns. Audit investigations can be done only when complaints are lodged against a candidate by another contestant. The EC did not have to initiate any investigation as there has never been any such complaint.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree. But, based on the submission of candidate financial reports to the Election Commission, other oversight bodies, such as the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), investigate some allegations of illegal wealth accumulation. For example, the ACC opened investigations into the wealth of seven ministers and lawmakers of the last parliament, in January 2014 following news reports that their movable and immovable properties saw an astronomical rise over the past five years.

        The ACC found that that Mr. Enamul Haque, MP has amassed around Tk 216 crore through illegal means. The report also indicated that the lawmaker concealed information of around Tk 213 crore in his wealth statement submitted to the Election Commission before the January 5 parliamentary election. On September 8, the lawmaker was grilled by ACC investigators. Finally, ACC has recommended suing the lawmaker for earning wealth worth around Tk 216 crore by illegal means.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority conducted at least three investigations or audits during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 50 score is earned where the authority conducted at least one investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        A 0 score is earned where the authority didn't conduct any investigation or audit during the most recent electoral campaign.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh Al-hajj Muhammad Ali Faruki, Organizing Secretary, Central Committee, Bangladesh Tariqat Federation (BTF), August 9, 2014, Kakrail, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Reviewer's sources: The Daily Star, Investigators for suing AL MP Enamul, September 16, 2014, Dhaka, http://www.thedailystar.net/investigators-for-suing-al-mp-enamul-41937

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        In practice, to what extent does the authority publish the results of investigations or audits?More about indicator

        There is no question of publishing the results of investigations or audits, since such investigations and audits are never conducted.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where the authority publishes reports of all its investigations or audits a month or less after their conclusion.

        A 50 score is earned where reports are available to the public more than a month after the conclusion of the investigation or audit.

        A 0 score is earned where reports are not available to the public or they become available after six months or more after conclusion of the investigation or audit. A 0 score is also earned where only summaries of the reports are publicly available.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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      Enforcement Capabilities
      More about category
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        YES
        In law, there are sanctions in response to political finance violations.More about indicator

        There are specific mentions of sanctions to political finance violations applicable for both the perpetrating candidate and political party. For candidates, spending more money than the maximum limit mentioned in the law is punishable [RPO, 1972, Article 44B 3(B)] and the election can be termed as void [RPO, 1972, Article 63 (1) (e)]. If a candidate uses money from a source that had not been mentioned earlier, or more than the maximum allowed amount, or fails to submit election returns on time, is liable to be sentenced with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall not be less than two years, and also be fined [RPO, 1972, Article 73 (2) (2a)]. Above all, the EC has to authority to cancel the candidature of any candidate if it is deemed to the EC that the candidate is engaged in any violation of the law or the Electoral Code of Conduct including violating financial instructions [RPO, 1972, Article 91 (E) (1, 2)].

        In case of political parties, a fine may be imposed up to Tk 1 million (USD 12,500), if a party fails to abide by the instructions set forth in the law with regard to financial record keeping and expenditure [RPO, 1972, Article 44CC (5)]. The EC can cancel the registration of a party if the party does not submit electoral return within three months after the election [RPO, 1972, Article 44CCC (5)], or fails to submit its audited annual accounts statement for a consecutive three years [RPO, 1972, Article 90H (1) (c)].

        RPO, 1972, Article 44B 3(B) “[Any money utilized in violation of any provision of clause (3A) shall be deemed to be election expenses incurred by the contesting candidate concerned in excess of the amount mentioned in clause (3) and shall be deemed to be a contravention of Article 44B.]”

        RPO, 1972, Article 63 (1) (e) “(1) The High Court Division shall declare the election of the returned candidate to be void if it is satisfied that- [ (e) The returned candidate has spent more money than what is allowed under Article 44B(3).]”

        RPO, 1972, Article 73 (2) (2a) “A person is guilty of corrupt practice punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall not be less than two years, and also with fine], if he- (2) has not any election expenses from any source other than sources specified by the contesting candidate in the statement or the supplementary statement submitted under Article 44AA; (2A) contravenes the provisions of Article 44B;”

        RPO, 1972, Article 74 (2) “A person is guilty of illegal practice [ punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which may extend to seven years and shall not be less than two years, and also with fine], if he- (2) fails to comply with the provisions of Article [ 44AA or] 44C”

        RPO, 1972, Article 91 (E) (1, 2) “(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in this Order or rules, if it appears to the Commission on receiving an information from any source or written report that, any contesting candidate or his agent or any other person on his behalf, by his order or under his direct or indirect consent, engages or attempts to engage in any serious illegal activity or violates or attempts to violate any provision of this Order or rules or Code of Conduct for which he may be disqualified to be elected as a member the Commission may pass an order for an investigation of the matter giving the contesting candidate a reasonable opportunity of being heard. (2) After receiving the investigation report under clause (1), if the Commission is satisfied that, the report was true, the Commission may, by a written order, cancel the candidature of such candidate and in that event the election shall be held among the other contesting candidates of the concerned constituency; and where only one person remains as a contesting candidate because of cancellation of candidature of the other contesting candidate, election shall be held under Article 17 for that constituency.”

        RPO, 1972, Article 44CC (5) “If any political party contravenes any provision of this Article, it shall be punishable with fine which may extend to taka ten lakh.”

        RPO, 1972, Article 44CCC (5) “If any registered political party fails to submit its expenditure statement within the time specified in clause (1), the Commission shall issue a notice of warning directing it to submit the statement within thirty days and if the concerned registered political party fails to submit it within that period of time, the Commission may, subject to payment of a fine of taka ten thousand, extend the time for another fifteen days, and if such registered political party fails to submit its statement within that extended time, the Commission may cancel its registration.]”

        RPO, 1972, Article 90H (1) (c) “(1) The registration of a political party may be cancelled for the following reasons, namely- (c) if the political party fails to provide any information under this Order and rules to the Commission [ for three consecutive years;”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the law clearly defines violations of political finance laws, and 2) there are clearly defined sanctions for specific violations.

        A MODERATE score is earned where violations are clearly defined but sanctions for specific violations are not.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 44B 3(B) , Article 44CC (5), Articles 63 (1), 73 (2) (2a), 74 (2), Article 91E (1, 2), Article 44CCC (5) , Article 90H (1) (c) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        YES
        In law, the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions.More about indicator

        According to law the EC has judicial authority to impose sanctions for violations of specific clauses through summary trials [RPO, 1972, Article 89A]. The EC also has the authority to cancel candidature of candidates if it is deemed to the EC that a candidate is engaged in any violation of the law or the Electoral Code of Conduct including violating financial instructions [RPO, 1972, Article 91 (E) (1, 2)].

        RPO, 1972, Article 89A “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898 (V of 1898), any person for the time being performing any duty in connection with an election, excluding any member of a law enforcing agency, may, if authorized by the Commission, by general or special order, in this behalf- (a) exercise the powers of a Magistrate of the first class under the said Code in respect of the offences punishable under [Article 73(2B), 74(2A), (3), (4), (5), (6),], Article 78, Article 79, Article 80, Article 81(1) and Article 82; and (b) take cognizance of any such offence under any of the clauses of sub-section (1) of section 190 of the said Code, and shall try any such offence in a summary manner in accordance with the provisions of the said Code relating to summary trials.]”

        RPO, 1972, Article 91 (E) (2) “(2) After receiving the investigation report under clause (1), if the Commission is satisfied that, the report was true, the Commission may, by a written order, cancel the candidature of such candidate and in that event the election shall be held among the other contesting candidates of the concerned constituency; and where only one person remains as a contesting candidate because of cancellation of candidature of the other contesting candidate, election shall be held under Article 17 for that constituency.”

        Scoring Criteria

        A YES score is earned where: 1) the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, and 2) it can directly prosecute violators before the courts or is independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A MODERATE score is earned where the oversight authority has the power to impose sanctions, but it can't directly prosecute violators before the courts or is not independent to send cases to public prosecution.

        A NO score is earned where no such law exists.

        Sources

        The Representation of the People Order 1972, Article 89A, Article 91E (2) http://bdlaws.minlaw.gov.bd/printsectionsall.php?id=424

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        75
        In practice, to what extent do offenders comply with sanctions imposed?More about indicator

        In most cases, the offenders have complied with the sanctions imposed. In cases when they were not satisfied, they have gone to the court. For instance, the total number of candidates in the 10th Parliamentary Election was 543, among whom 525 submitted electoral return on time. However, nine candidates did not submit the return at all, while another nine submitted late. Cases were filed against all the 18 candidates, which are now ongoing.

        After the 10th Parliamentary Election all the parties except Jatiyo Party (Ershad) did not submit the electoral return within the time stipulated in the law (three months after the election gazette is published). However, the EC warned the party and later JP submitted the return along with due fines.

        Data on repeat offenders is not available at the EC, as it has not and will not disclose the names of candidates from the 9th elections who did submit the required financial information on time.

        Scoring Criteria

        A 100 score is earned where: 1) offenders comply with the sanctions imposed without exception, and 2) they are not repeat offenders.

        A 50 score is earned where: 1) offenders usually comply with the sanctions imposed but exceptions exist, or 2) most are not repeat offenders but some exceptions exist.

        A 0 score is earned where: 1) offenders rarely comply with the sanctions imposed, or 2) most are repeat offenders.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh

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        Open Question: How strong is enforcement, and what impedes more effective enforcement?More about indicator

        Political parties and candidates have by and large tended to follow the Electoral Code of Conduct, but many exceptions exist. Violations of the Code of Conduct have been found in respect to the use of government resources (such as use of public vehicles during electoral campaigns), organizing of public meetings on the streets, setting up of campaign offices in excess of the permissible number, erection of gates, use of religious sentiments in campaigns, vote-buying, and the rendering of support by MPs and ministers to respective local candidates. Although the Electoral Commission issued alert notices and imposed fines against many during the last 10th Parliamentary elections and other elections to local government bodies (such as city corporation and municipality elections), the EC has been slack in taking strong actions for violation of the Code of Conduct. Therefore, it can be said that a big challenge for the Commission is to take strong steps to prevent violations of the electoral code of conduct, especially the violation of expenditure limits. Due to limitations of the EC in applying electoral laws and codes of conduct, expenditure beyond the maximum limit and other violations have not been prevented.

        The EC disclosed the personal, financial, criminal cases and loan related information provided through affidavit by the candidates in different elections. It also disclosed information on expenditure of electoral campaigns by the candidates as well as the parties. Although the EC filed cases against 18 candidates who did not submit the expenditure return, it did not disclose the total number of defaulters who failed to submit the expenditure return. Similarly, while the political parties submitted their annual financial statements to the EC, it did not disclose details of such statements publicly.

        The reasons for lack of enforcement of electoral laws especially with regard to political and electoral finance identified are – politicization of the democratic and administrative system, influence of black money, lack of democratization within and outside political parties, lack of adequate and skilled human resources, lack of adequate legal provisions, and lack of strong political will at the EC’s end. The government has not been as active in the context of considering proposals for legal reform, the enactment of a law for the appointment of the CEC and other Election Commissioners and refraining from exerting influence on local government elections. In addition, the pace of settling election related disputes has been very slow. The fact that the EC has from time to time faced non-cooperation from various political parties including the major opposition party, demonstrate a certain degree of mistrust towards the EC.

        The EC operates within the legal framework prescribed in the Constitution and/or Acts of Parliament. The absence of enabling laws ensuring its independence and neutrality pose a major challenge for the EC in conducting free and fair elections. Legal reforms are imperative in the context of the appointment of the Chief and other Election Commissioners, EC’s control over some of the relevant ministries and departments during election, determination of the start of electoral campaigns, and the scrutiny of campaign expenditures.


        Peer reviewer comment: Agree - Political analysts suggest that the Commission must be given the authority and resources to scrutinize the affidavits submitted by the candidates after the elections and to take legal actions for false affidavits. The EC should be authorised to set up a tribunal to hear and dispose of complaints from voters regarding the information on wealth statement of the candidates, political financing, and other information in the affidavits by candidates. The EC must also obtain the resources, capacity and power to audit the election expense reports of the political parties and take legal action against false reports. Finally, and crucially, a new law should be enacted to govern the appointment of the members of the EC to ensure their independence.

        Scoring Criteria

        Please provide a general explanation of the effectiveness of enforcement, describing: 1) any conditions that may prevent effective enforcement, and 2) explain what are the most urgent areas of reform in the country's political finance system.

        Sources

        Interviews: Brig. (Retd.) Shakhawat Hossain, former Election Commissioner, August 6, 2014, Dhaka, Bangladesh Jesmin Tuli, Joint Secretary, Election Commission Secretariat, August 18, 2014, Sher-e-Bangla Nagar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Shakhawat Liton, Chief, Political Reporting Team, The Daily Star, August 11, Karwan Bazaar, Dhaka, Bangladesh Sheikh Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, Jatio Party, August 10, 2014, Gulshan-2, Dhaka, Bangladesh

        Shahzada M Akram and Shadhan K Das, ‘Towards an Effective Election Commission: Challenges and Way Out’, Transparency International Bangladesh, September 29, 2013 http://www.ti-bangladesh.org/beta3/images/maxfile/esecen071013.pdf

        Akbar Ali Khan, ‘Electoral Challenges in Bangladesh: The choice between the unpalatable and disastrous’, The Daily Star, March 17, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/the-choice-between-the-unpalatable-and-disastrous/

        ATM Shamsul Huda, ‘Its meaning, attributes and limit: Independence of Bangladesh Election Commission’, The Daily Star, March 17, 2013 http://archive.thedailystar.net/beta2/news/its-meaning-attributes-and-limit/

        ‘Parties upsetting local govt polls: Says ex-CEC Huda’, The Daily Star, February 9, 2014 http://www.thedailystar.net/parties-upsetting-local-govt-polls-10504

Bangladesh has a unicameral parliamentary system of government. The national parliament, the Jatiya Sangsad, has 300 members elected in single member constituencies on the basis of first past the post voting. Once a government is formed post-election, an additional 50 members appointed to so-called "reserved" seats after their approval by elected MPs. For the reserved seats, candidates are nominated by the respective parties from the female party members. The reserved seats are determined proportionate to the number of seats a party has in the parliament (one reserved seat for every six seats). However, the nominated candidates have to go through a nomination process in their respective parties (submission of nomination forms, submission of information to the EC, interview etc.).

Candidates tend to manage their own funds for their electoral campaigns after being nominated by their party. Such funds are usually made up of personal income, familial contributions, and party contributions. At the national level, parties also run campaigns with monies raised from membership fees and business donors.

The Prime Minister is the head of government in Bangladesh, and he/she is nominated and selected by the leading party in the Jatiya Sangsad. The ruling party also nominates a President, who is then elected by MPs to serve as the ceremonial head of state.

According to the Constitution [Article 48 (3)], the President possesses the authority of the appointment of the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. For exercising any other function the President has to consult the Prime Minister. The President also has the authority to grant pardons, reprieves and respites, and to remit, suspend or commute any sentence passed by any court, tribunal or other authority [Article 49].

The most recent national elections took place in January 2014. In this election the former main opposition party and its allies did not contest, while in more than 50% of the total constituencies one candidate was declared the winner before the election took place as other candidates were declared illegal by the EC. In the election the former ruling party, Bangladesh Awami Leaguem and its allies got elected in 82% of constituencies, while Jatiya Party got 11% of seats and other parties and individual candidates got 7% of seats.