Concerned Citizens’ Group, a platform of noted citizens, at a roundtable here on Tuesday sought a constitutional amendment to make a balance between the power of the President and the Prime Minister.
They said constitutional and institutional reforms are urgent for establishing a full and effective democratic ruling system in the country ensuring the balance of power.
The speakers also laid emphasis on the need for making constitutional institutions effective.
Concerned Citizens' Group hosted the roundtable titled ‘Checks and Balances of Powers to Achieve Fuller Democracy’ at BRAC Centre Inn in the city.
Former Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda, former caretaker government advisers M Hafizuddin Khan, Rasheda K Chowdhury, political scientist and CPD fellow Rounaq Jahan, Executive Director of Policy Research Institute (PRI) Dr Ahsan H Mansur, constitutional expert Dr Shahdeen Malik, local government expert Tofail Ahmed, and Sujan
secretary Badiul Alam Mazumder, among others, spoke on the occasion.
Barrister Manzur Hasan presented a paper on behalf of the Concerned Citizens' Group, according to a press release.
Speaking on the occasion, Group convener Shamsul Huda said, “Election is one of the prerequisites to democracy. But, holding only an election is not enough to establish complete democracy.”
He observed that power has been centralised with the Prime Minister and there is an urgent need for balance of power and control. “We’ll have to go for a sustainable solution, not a temporary one.”
Hafizuddin Khan said the power of the President is very limited and he is bound to take suggestions from the Prime Minister on all issues except the appointment of the Chief Justice.
Shahdeen Malik said the only power that the President have is to appoint Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. But these two are an automatic process. “So, the position of President becomes almost unnecessary one.”
South Asian Legal Institute executive director Mannzoor Hasan proposed increasing the power of the President to ensure checks and balances.
Political scientist Rounaq Jahan said no constitution is a permanent and it needs to be reviewed considering people’s need.
Journalist Muhammad Jahangir said the proposals that came today cannot be implemented together but the new generation will hopefully come forward to implement those.
He said it needs to be ensured that power is transferred through a fair and participatory election. “But it is a big question as to whether the next elections will be held fulfilling that desire.”