Mohammad Zakaria
The Election Commission has completed its all preparatory work for holding the next general election. The countdown for the next parliamentary election begins on Tuesday under the provisions of the constitution.
The commission has finalized the electoral code of conduct, while the Representation of the People Order (RPO) is yet to be passed in parliament. If it does not pass in parliament, the commission will apply it through an ordinance, officials said.
The commission will hold a meeting with 23 ministries and departments, including law enforcement agencies, regarding deployment plans and overall preparations of holding the next general election.
According to Article 123 (3) (a), the next general election must be held 90 days prior to the expiry of parliament’s tenure. Article 123(3) (b) stipulates that in case of a dissolution of parliament otherwise than by reason of such expiration, the election must be held within 90 days of such dissolution.
The first session of the 10th parliament began on January 29, 2014. The 10th parliamentary election was held on January 5, 2014, while the EC had earlier announced the polls schedule on November 25. The first session of the ninth parliament began on January 25, 2009.
The tenure of the 10th parliament expires on January 28, 2019. The countdown will start from October 30.
Under the constitution the next government will have to be formed before January 24, 2019. If elections are held as per schedule the next government may be formed even on January 10, 2019.
An election commissioner said the commission had started taking preparations for the next parliamentary election much earlier. The EC has to hold the election three months before the end of the tenure of the current parliament to fulfil constitutional obligations, he also said.
“The preparatory work has almost been done. The EC will complete all the work before the announcement of the polls schedule,” he added.
He said that the polls schedule would be declared ensuring an equal chance for all parties and candidates.
The Election Commission is likely to announce the 11th parliamentary election schedule on November 4.
Before the announcement is made, all election commissioners led by the CEC will meet President M Abdul Hamid on November 1 to inform him about the election preparations and announcement of the polls schedule.
In this regard, the commission has sent a letter to the Director General of Bangladesh Television regarding the broadcast of Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda’s speech, EC sources said.
Primarily, the commission is likely to hold the next parliamentary polls in the last week of December. The possible date of the polls is December 27, sources also said.
EC officials said the commission will hold a meeting with the Home Ministry, Armed Forces Division, Bangladesh Bank, Public Administration and Education ministries along with 23 other ministries and departments about the election preparations and plans. The meeting will be held at 11:00 am at Nirbachan Bhaban on October 31.
Meanwhile, the commission has completed procurement of electoral equipment, updated voter list, preparing voter CD of 300 parliamentary constituencies, listing of polling stations, demarcation of parliamentary constituencies, and dialogue with political parties and stakeholders, EC officials said.
They also stated that the EC will send electoral equipment where needed by helicopter.
The commission has prepared a list of 42,000 polling stations for 104.2 million voters ahead of the 11th parliamentary election. Five thousand more centres may be added for smooth voting, he said, adding that preparations regarding the voter list have already been completed.