The 11th parliamentary election of the country will be held on December 23 this year as the Election Commission (EC) announced the poll schedule on Thursday.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda announced the schedule with a call for all political parties to join the polls for continuation of democracy and country’s development.He declared the poll schedule in an address to the nation simultaneously broadcast by state-run Bangladesh Television (BTV) and Bangla-desh Betar at 7:00pm.
As per the schedule, intending candidates will have to submit nomination papers by November 19, scrutiny of nomination papers will take place on November 22, while the last date for withdrawal of candidature is November 29.
In his address, the CEC said, “Election is a dependable medium for the development of democracy. The 11th parliament polls have appeared before the people to take it forward.”
“I urged all the political parties to participate in the election for continuation of democracy and keeping pace of development uinterrupted,” Nurul Huda said.
“If there is any political discord between the parties, we urge them to solve it politically as we expect a competitive election with participation of all parties,” he said.
The CEC also called upon all the political parties to avoid any kind of political hostility during the polls.About the level playing field in the upcoming national polls, he said every political party and its candidates will get equal facilities during election campaign.
“Level playing field will be ensured in the polls. A circular will be issued in this regard soon,” he added.
There is a constitutional obligation to hold the parliamentary election by January 28, 2019, the CEC said adding that they took oath to hold the election as per the constitution.
The EC will strictly enforce electoral code of conduct. Army will be deployed as a striking force to assist the civil administration in peaceful holding of the polls.
About six lakh members from different law enforcing agencies, including the police, Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Coast Guard and Answer-VDP will be deployed during the polls, the CEC said.
The EC will monitor their skill, neutrality and concentration, the CEC said adding that if the election is hampered for their failure to perform duty, legal action will be taken against the law enforcers concerned, he warned.
The CEC said strict directives will be given to the law enforcement agencies not to harass or arrest any voter, political activist, candidate and agent without any reason.
The CEC also requested all the aspirants and their supporters to follow electoral code and urged all voters to cast their vote for the candidate of their choice.
“Purchase and printing of poll materials have almost been completed. Consultation has been made at intra-ministerial meeting. Election officials are engaged in election work and we have appraised the President of our work progress,” he said.
Primary process to engage around seven lakh polling officers has been completed while executive and judicial magistrate will be appointed in each constituency, the CEC added.
Citing the success of EVM (electronic voting machine) use in local government polls, he said they have taken initiatives to use EVM alongside the manual vote casting system in the national polls.
“We believe that use of EVM will increase the quality of election and save time, money and efforts. Owing to this fact, EVM will be used in some constituencies”, added CEC.