The Election Commission has taken all kinds of preparations to hold the 12th parliamentary polls at the end of December, or in the first week of January next year.
According to the Constitution, the national election must be held within 90 days before the five-year term of the parliament expires. The 11th parliament began its first sitting on January 30, 2019.
“We have taken all sorts of preparations to hold the next general election in a stipulated time frame. We had taken an action plan to hold the polls as per the constitution,” a senior official of the Election Commission told Bangladesh Post on Monday.
The commission is likely to announce the polls schedule of the election in October or November, he also said.
“Ninety days for holding a parliamentary election is enough for us. We have already completed major tasks of preparation for holding the polls. We have sat at a commission meeting to discuss the development of the preparation,” seeking anonymity, a joint secretary of the EC said.
“We will sit at a commission meeting to discuss the progress of preparation of holding the next parliamentary polls in a free, fair and impartial manner,” he also said.
Earlier, chief election commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal told the media that the schedule could be announced 50 or 60 days before the election day. There is no fixed rule as to when the polls schedule would be announced, he added.
EC officials said the EC has already completed the major tasks including updating voter lists and refixing of parliamentary delimitation ahead of the next general polls. , amendments of the Representative of People Order (RPO) and the election related laws have been finalised.
Setting up the polling centres is also in the final stages. A draft list of 42,380 polling centres has been drafted. The final list of polling centres will be published as a gazette when the polls schedule is announced.
The commission has also given registration to two new political parties ahead of the election. Sixty six local organisations have been registered as election observers.
EC officials also said that training has begun for election-related officials. Presently trainers are being trained. Training of deputy commissioners, upazila returning officers and police officers will start next month.
Usually, training begins after the announcement of polls but now the commission starts in advance. Paper ballots will be used for voting in all 300 constituencies this time. Procurement process for the required materials has begun. Collecting transparent ballot boxes from abroad is under process, he said, adding that the necessary electoral equipment would be reached to the EC in due time, EC officials said.
The EC will hold a workshop on ‘Free voting rights: Role of candidates and polling agents’. The workshop is to be held on 4 October.
EU to deploy observers
The European Union (EU) will send observers to observe the upcoming parliamentary elections supposed to be held in December this year or early January next as per the constitution.
However, the EU will not send its full team of observers to oversee the next general elections due to ‘budgetary constraints’, the EU said in a letter sent to the Election Commission recently.
“The European Union has informed the Election Commission through email on Wednesday that they will send its observers to observe the upcoming national polls but will not send its full-fledged observation team due to the fund constraints in the fiscal 2023-24,” secretary of the election commission Md Jahangir Alam told reporters at a press conference held at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital on Thursday.