Bangladesh: ‘Raise reserved parliamentary seats up to 33%’

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'The demand has been unheard for a long time because of political parties’ lack of will'

Women activists on Sunday urged the government to increase the number of women’s reserved parliamentary seats to 33% to involve more female candidates in the upcoming national election.

Bangladesh Mahila Parishad organised a press conference titled “Increase of the reserved seats in the Jatiya Sangsad by one third, direct poll and relocation of the election area” at Jatiya Press Club where the speakers made the demand.

Speakers at the press conference said the government promised that they would increase the seats.

Bangladesh MahilaParishad President Ayesha Khanam said the demand has been unheard for a long time because of political parties’ lack of will.

She added that Awami League has committed to increase the reserved women seats by 33% in the manifesto. 14 party alliance had also committed in this regard before the 9th parliamentary election. It was also mentioned in the National Women Development Policy 2011 that the government would increase the number of reserved women seats to empower the women. But all the promises have turned into sweet quoted words.

Rekha Chowdhury, one of the leadersof the organisation, said: “Bangladesh MahilaParishad sent 18,000 post cards to all themembers of the parliament in 2012 demanding to implement the increase of the reserved seats.”

But none of them respond to the card. Among others, Maleka Banu, general secretary, and Masuda Rehana Begum, assistant general secretary, were present at the press conference.

SOURCE: Dhaka Tribune, September 23rd 2013: