Monday, 2 October, 2023

EC busy preparing for national polls

The Election Commission (EC) is now spending busy time taking preparations for smoothly holding the next general election, which is due by January 2024.

The EC is all set to conduct the polls within the last 90 days of the present parliament to fulfil the constitutional obligation, no matter whatever the political decision is.

The EC has started preparations to this end eying to hold the voting in late December or early January, according to EC sources.

The polls schedule will be announced in early or mid-November, the sources said.

The commission wants to complete the procurement of electoral materials for the 12th parliamentary polls by October.

The commission has floated tender through the E-GP portal to purchase the election materials like stamp pad, official seal, marking seal, brass seal, indelible ink pen, different kinds of bag, ballot box, transparent ballot box lid and ballot box lock, according to the EC sources.

They will purchase around 50,000-60,000 ballot boxes this time as the previous ballot boxes are available for use. However, the commission floated re-tender as several electoral materials, including indelible ink, were not up to the standard.

Around 6.5 lakh stamp pads, 18,000 red sealing wax, 6 lakh official seals, 12 lakh marking seals, 1 lakh brush seals, 7 lakh indelible ink pens and about 35 lakh ballot box seals will be required for conducting the election, said election management wing officials.

Apart from Dhaka-17 and Chattogram-10 by-elections on July 17 and July 30, there are no other major elections before the parliamentary polls.

Now, the EC has put its all concentration on the 12th parliamentary elections.

Ashok Kumar Debnath, additional secretary of the EC, told the Daily Sun that the preparatory work is going on as per the road map to hold the election with ballot papers. The registration process of new political parties will be completed by the next week, he said, adding, “We’ve already floated tender to buy election materials. We’ll place the work order by July and get all of the election materials by September to October.”

Ahead of the election, EC is overhauling its field officials all over the country.

Work to determine polling centres is underway and it will be completed by August.

A policy has also been formulated to this end and field officials are working in the light of that policy.

The EC has primarily decided to provide the opportunity for submitting nomination papers online for the next general election.

In this case, MP candidates do not have to go to returning officers or election offices for submitting nomination papers. They can submit file nomination online and complete the related documents collection process from any place.

The last general election was held on December 30, 2018. The first parliament session sat on January 30, 2019.

According to the constitution, the tenure of parliament is five years from the start of the first session and the election will have to be held within last 90 days of the tenure.

Accordingly, the next general election will have to be held by January 29, 2024.