he 12th parliamentary elections will be held in the first week of January next year.
The Election Commission (EC) is going to announce the schedules for the elections in early November, an Election Commissioner said on Tuesday,“We will announce the schedule of next general elections in the early November and hold the election in the first week of January. We are working to hold the national polls in a free, fair and participatory manner,” election commissioner Md Anisur Rahman told reporters at a programme in Gazipur.
Another Election Commissioner Md Alamgir said on the same day in Dhaka that the next national election must have to be held by 29 January as per the constitutional obligation.
“The polls must be held by January 29 next year as per the constitutional obligation. If the polls do not take place within this time frame, constitutional gap leading to a state of anarchy, will be created which the Election Commission cannot allow,” he told reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban.
“We will announce give the schedule in the first week of November. We want to give the schedule a little bit earlier to facilate the work. From top to bottom we have a lot of work to do in a hurry.
“Our two main responsibilities are to hold the parliamentary elections and to hold the president elections. We have already done the presidential election. National elections should be held by January 29 next year. The election schedule will be announced by the Chief Election Commissioner through an address to the nation,” he said.
About participatory polls, the election commissioner said, “We cannot force anyone to participate. We invited all political parties to participate in polls.We sat in dialogue. But some did not come to the dialogue. We have appealed to them repeatedly through letters. Our doors are always open to them. I am willing to discuss with everyone. We will do everything from the power given to us by the Constitution.”
EC issues revised policy for foreign observers
The Electoral Commission (EC) has revised its guidelines for foreign election observers. The EC issued the guidelines on Tuesday.
According to the revised policy, if any foreign national or organization wants to observe elections in Bangladesh, they must have experience in working with good governance, elections, democracy, peace-building and human rights.
About the matter, Md Alamgir said, “Any organisation from any country is welcome to apply to observe our election. If approved by the EC and the Ministry of Home Affairs, there would be no legal impediments to their participation.”
The EC extends invitations to member countries of the Forum Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBOSA), with a special emphasis on neighbouring nations, he said, adding that “We will be extending invitations to them again this time.”
“In addition to FEMBOSA countries, discussions were held about inviting SAARC nations [Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka]. Invitation letters will be dispatched to them shortly,” the election commissioner said.
Already 66 local organisations have been registered as election observers to observe the national polls.