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EC mulls holding all UP polls this year

Published : 17 Sep 2021 11:31 PM | Updated : 18 Sep 2021 12:29 AM

The Election Commission (EC) is mulling to hold polls to all Union Parishads (UPs) across the country this year. 

Alongside the UP polls, the EC wants to complete the elections to Narayanganj City Corporation (NCC), Cumilla City Corporation (CCC), some municipalities and some by-polls in several upazilas and parliamentary seats before the expiration of the tenure of the current EC. 

The outgoing commission also wants to hold district council elections in time. The last election of 61 district councils was held on December 28 in 2016. The EC Secretariat is preparing to hold the district council elections in January, sources said. 

On February 6 in 2016, the current EC was formed with KM Nurul Huda as Chief Election Commissioner (CEC). The four other commissioners are Mahbub Talukder, Rafiqul Islam, Begum Kabita Khanam and Brigadier General (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury.

The EC assumed office on February 15 in 2017. So, its tenure will expire on February 14 next year.

According to the law, the president will complete the process of forming a new commission before February 15. Article 118 of the Constitution gives the President the power to appoint the CEC and other Election Commissioners. However, according to Article 48 (3) of the Constitution, the President has to make this appointment in consultation with the Prime Minister.

EC Secretary Md Humayun Kabir Khandaker said that the current commission would need to hold elections to about 4,100 UPs by December. The EC will also hold the NCC elections and district council elections before expiration of its tenure. The decision about the polls will be taken at the 85th meeting of the EC. The meeting is likely to be held next week. However, the EC in its 84th meeting held in August discussed the issue of the polls. 

The EC has already announced the date for by-elections to Cumilla-7 constituency, while it has the preparation to announce schedule for NCC elections in the last week of October or the first week of November. As such, the NCC elections will be held in mid-December. 

The five-year tenure of the NCC will end on February 7 in 2022 as the first meeting of the corporation was held on February 8 in 2017. The last NCC elections were held on December 22 in 2016.

As per the Local Government (City Corporation) Act, 2009, the city corporation polls must be held 180 days before the tenure of the incumbent corporation ends. 

Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam said that all the elections that have to be held before the end of the tenure of the current commission due to constitutional obligation will be done by the commission. The EC wants to complete the UP elections, NCC elections and CCC elections by next December. The EC Secretariat is working in this regard. 

The 10th UP elections will be held in four phases. The EC plans to announce the election schedule at the end of this month or early October. However, the date of election will be fixed considering SSC and HSC examinations and Covid-19 situation. 

The EC could hold elections to only 204 UPs out of a total of around 4500 UPs. The polls will be held in around 4100 UPs by next December.  

EC officials said that the UP polls across the country would be completed in four phases. The second phase of the UP polls is likely to be held in early November, while the third phase of the voting will take place in mid-November and the fourth phase will be held at the end of November or first week of December.

In March this year, the EC decided to hold elections to all UPs in several phases. As per the decision, the schedule for holding polls to 371 UPs in the first phase was announced on March 3 and the elections date was fixed on April 11. However, the election was postponed due to the Covid-19 situation. 

Later on June 3, the elections were rescheduled for June 21. However, as the Covid-19 situation worsened in bordering areas, polls were postponed in 167 UPs and the polls were held in the remaining 204 UPs. 

On February 11 in 2016, the schedule for the 9th UP elections was announced in party-symbol for the first time and the elections were held in that year in five phases. The UP elections this year will also be held in party-symbol.  

About the district council election, Humayun Kabir Khandaker said that further decisions would be taken in this regard after the list is given by the local government ministry.