A draft bill seeking amendment to the Representation of the People Order to make provisions for using electronic voting machines in general elections is scheduled to be placed in today’s weekly cabinet meeting.
A senior Cabinet Division official confirmed on Sunday that the draft of the bill was on the agenda for the cabinet meeting to be held at the Prime Minister’s Office.
The law ministry already sent to the Cabinet Division the draft bill after vetting it.
The Election Commission sent the draft to the law ministry in September, although election commissioner Mahbub Talukder opposed and dissented from his colleagues on the use of EVMs in the next general elections at a meeting of the commission on August 30.
On September 18, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved a project of the commission to procure 1.5 lakh EVMs in three phases in the next five years at a cost of Tk 3,825 crore.
In the dialogue the commission arranged in 2017, 35 out of the 40 registered political parties, including the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, opposed the use of EVMs in the next general elections.
The rest five parties — the ruling Awami League and its allies the Workers Party of Bangladesh, the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal faction led by Hasanul Haq Inu, the Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (M-L) and the Zaker Party — were in favour of using EVMs.
In May 2017, the chief election commissioner said that EVMs would be used in the next parliamentary polls only if all political parties agreed.
In November 2017, he said that EVMs would not be used in the next general elections as the commission was not prepared for it.
In the 2010 Chittagong mayoral election, the commission used EVMs in one ward for the first time in the country.
BNP and a host of other parties opposed the use of EVMs in national polls fearing that the Awami League-led government would digitally rig the polls.
After technical errors cropped up during selective use of EVMs in local elections in 2013, the commission postponed it plan for the use of EVMs in general elections.
The commission’s interest in using EVMs resurfaced in 2017 after prime minister Sheikh Hasina requested president Abdul Hamid to ask the commission to use EVMs in the 11th parliamentary elections due by January 28, 2019.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Politics