Saturday, 2 July, 2022

Next nat’l polls on Jan 4 or 7 in 2024!

Tentative date for the 12th parliamentary elections is being discussed at the government policy level with almost all the political parties taking preparations to join the national polls.

The Election Commission (EC) will fix the date for the national polls, but top policy makers have given possible date for the election, highly placed sources in the government told the Daily Sun.

The policy makers at a recent meeting discussed tentative date for the country’s next parliamentary polls, the sources said.

According to them, the next polls can be held either on January 4 in 2024 or on January 7 in 2024 as there is a legal obligation to hold the polls 90 days before the dissolution of the current parliament.

As per constitutional provision, the 12th parliamentary election has to be held between November 1 of 2023 and January 29 of 2024 as the first session of the 11th parliament started on January 30 in 2019.

Political analysts also think that there is a chance to hold the next national polls on January 4 or January 7 as MPs to be elected have to take oath within three days after publishing gazette on poll results as per law.

On the other hand, the President has to convene session of maiden session of parliament within 30 days after taking oath by the MPs-elect. 

As the tenure of the current 11th parliament will expire on January 29 in 2024, there is no chance to call maiden session of the 12th parliament before January 30 in 2024.

So, the suitable date for the 12th parliamentary elections is January 4 (Thursday) or January 7 (Sunday) in 2024, a source said quoting a policymaker, who was present at the meeting.

It is also learnt from sources concerned that there is no chance to hold the next polls on December 31 in 2023 as a bank holiday falls on this day while December 29 and 30 is weekly holidays.

With the next election approaching nearer, political parties, including ruling Awami League, main opposition Jatiya Party and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have started taking preparation to contest the polls.

Awami League hopes that the next election will be held in a free, fair and credible manner under the new Election Commission led by Kazi Habibul Awal but the BNP sticks to their demand for holding the election under a neutral administration.

After taking oath, the EC has started working to hold the next parliamentary elections in January in 2024.

As part of its plan, the EC has already held talks with educationists on March 13 and with eminent personalities on Tuesday. It will hold a series of meetings with other stake holders, including journalists.

The EC is scheduled announce election road map for the 12th parliamentary polls soon, sources concerned said.

Targeting the next polls, Awami League has started working to strengthen party grass roots by holding council sessions, forming committees and mitigating internal feuds.

On the other hand, Jatiya Party has also started taking preparations to take part in the next polls alone.

Although BNP has decided not to participate in the election under this EC, the party is secretly taking poll preparations.

Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader at a recent programme expressed the hope that BNP will participate in the next parliamentary elections.

As per tradition, election schedule is announced 40-45 days before the voting day.

According to sources, the first parliamentary polls were held on March 7 (Wednesday) in 1973 with the participation of 14 political parties, the second one on February 18 (Sunday) in 1979 with 29 parties, the third one on May 7 (Wednesday) in 1986 with 28 parties, the fourth one on March 3 (Thursday) in 1988 with eight parties, the fifth one on February 27 (Wednesday) in 1991 with 75 parties, the sixth one on February 15 (Thursday) in 1996 with 41 parties amid boycott by the most political parties, including Awami League, the seventh one on June 12 (Wednesday) in 1996 with 81 parties, the eighth one on October 1 (Monday) in 2001 with 54 parties, the ninth one on December 29 (Monday) in 2008 with 38 registered political parties, the 10th one on January 5 (Sunday) in 2014 with 12 parties amid boycott by BNP and several other political parties and the last election on December 30 (Sunday) in 2018 with 39 political parties.