The Election Commission on Tuesday said that it was planning to hold the next general election in the last week of December and it already completed 80 per cent of the preparations for the polls.
The 11th parliamentary elections would be held in the last week of December as there is no possibility of arranging the polls in January because of new academic year of school students that will begin at that time, commission secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told reporters at his office.
‘If the elections are held in January, the academic activities of students will be hampered,’ he said, adding that the school students usually enjoyed vacation at the end of December.
He also said that the commission was planning to use electronic voting machines in one-third of the 300 territorial constituencies in the polls if everything went well, including legal reform and positive opinion of political parties.
He said that the commission might talk to the political parties about the use of EVM.
He said that a proposal had been sent to the planning ministry for the procurement of 1.5 lakh EVMs.
According to commission officials, the commission was going to procure 1.5 lakh EVMs at an estimated
cost of Tk 3,821 crore, although the use of EVMs in general elections was still a matter to be settled and the provisions for which were yet to be made by amending the electoral law.
In the commission’s electoral dialogue with the political parties in 2017, 35 of the 40 registered parties, including the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, asked the commission not to use EVMs.
The rest five parties – the ruling Awami League, its allies Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction led by Hasanul Haq Inu and Bangladesher Samyabadi Dal (M-L) and Zaker Party – supported the use of EVMs.
The commission’s move to hold the polls in December worries the small parties, especially those who are in the alliances led by the ruling Awami League and the opposition
BNP, as the alliances
are yet to settle or even discuss the issue of shearing of seats.
Leaders of the parties said that the seat sharing issue should be settled as early as possible.
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