Now the wait to make the final recommendations begins as the committee published the proposed names on Monday evening. It will sit with media leaders on Tuesday afternoon before starting to discuss the list.
Although the KM Nurul Huda-led commission’s ran its term on Monday, Law Minister Anisul Huq had earlier said there would be no constitutional complexities if the country were to remain without an Election Commission for a few days.
According to the recently passed law, the committee has 15 working days from its formation, or until Feb 24, to recommend names to President Md Abdul Hamid.
Hamid formed the search committee headed by Justice Obaidul Hassan ahead of the end of the Huda-led commission’s tenure. The other members of the EC search committee are Justice SM Kuddus Zaman, Comptroller and Auditor General Mohammad Muslim Chowdhury, Bangladesh Public Service Commission Chairman Sohorab Hossain, former election commissioner Mohammed Sohul Hussain and fiction writer Anwara Syed Haq.
According to the law, the committee will propose a list of 10 nominees, with two candidates for each of the five positions, including that of the chief election commissioner.
The list of the 322 names proposed by the parties and others was posted to the Cabinet Division’s website after the end of the extended deadline for the submission of names.
The committee on Sunday extended the deadline by a day as the BNP and 14 other registered political parties did not submit names, expressing distrust in the process to appoint chief election commissioner and commissioners.
Many of the eminent citizens who took part in the talks with the committee on Saturday and Sunday urged the panel to publicise the proposed names and extend the deadline for the submission of names.
The committee was urged to select honest, competent and courageous people who espouse the spirit of the Liberation War.
There were calls to diversify the pool of potential candidates for the commission by including women along with representatives of minority groups to encourage vulnerable voters.
The eminent citizens also stressed the need to filter out those with partisan ties in their search to ensure a fair and unbiased Election Commission.
The names include mostly retired people from a range of professions. Most of them are professors, judges, former secretaries and retired officers of the armed forces.
Mohammed Sohul Hussain, a member of the search committee, is among the proposed names, which also include former election commissioners M Shakhawat Hossain and Abdul Mobarak, former EC secretaries Muhammad Jakaria, Mohammad Sadique, Sirajul Islam, Md Alamgir and some other former bureaucrats who had worked for the EC.
The retired judges include Justice JR Modassir Hossain, Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain, Justice Abdul Wahhab Miah, Justice Nazmun Ara Sultana and Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury.
The name of Nazimuddin Al Azad, a former state minister of HM Ershad’s government who sought the BNP’s ticket later, was also proposed.
The names of former caretaker government advisers Sultana Kamal, Geeteara Safiya Choudhury, Rasheda K Choudhury, and Dr Sufia Rahman have also come up.
Professor Muhammed Zafar Iqbal, Prof Abul Quasem Mohammad Fazlul Huq, Prof Abul Kalam Azad Chowdhury, Meghna Guhathakurta, Prof AAMS Arefin Siddique, Jyotiprakash Dutta and Sadeka Halim’s names have been proposed.
The economists include Dr Binayak Sen, Dr Ahsan H Mansur, Dr Atiur Rahman and Dr Mohammed Farashuddin.
Former army chiefs General Harunur Rashid, General Iqbal Karim Bhuiyan, former air force chief Fakhrul Azam, former inspectors general of police Hasan Mahmud Khandaker and AKM Shahidul Haque are also in contention.
Besides actor Ilias Kanchan, fashion designer and model Bibi Russell has her name on the list.