The Election Commission (EC) will finalise the road map to the 12th parliamentary elections after talks with registered political parties beginning tomorrow.
The commission has already formulated a draft road map with a target to hold the polls by January 2024, said EC sources.
Some nine issues, including the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), reforms of the laws, updating the electoral roll, demarcating the constituencies and registration of new political parties, have been incorporated in the draft.
Ashok Kumar Debnath, additional secretary of the EC secretariat, said they have drafted a road map for the 12th parliamentary elections.
The commission will finalise the roadmap after discussing all the relevant factors with the political parties, he said.
In the past, the EC used to finalise the road map and then hold talks with the stakeholders. But, there is an exception this time as the incumbent EC will finalise the road map after the talks with the political parties.
Apart from this, the EC has already asked the new political parties to file applications for registration by August.
The next general election is scheduled to be held between November 2023 and January 2024.
EC officials said they are working based on the assumption that the election schedule will be announced in November next year.
They plan to complete the registration of new parties, dialogues and legal reforms this year and finalise the voter list and demarcate constituencies at the start of 2023.
The commission will later look into the election budget, finalisation of polling stations, preparations for election materials, discussions with local and foreign organisations and parties, and other campaign-related work, according to EC sources.
With all these issues in the draft road map, the EC is set to begin the talks with political parties tomorrow.
Ashok Kumar Debnath also said they have already invited all the registered political parties for the talks which will continue till July 31. As per the decision, the EC will hold discussion separately with four parties each day. But it will hold talks with three parties on the day it sits with Bangladesh Nationalist Party and two parties on the day it sits with Awami League.
Each party will be able to take part in the meeting with 10 members each. The EC has allotted two hours for talks with Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party while other parties will get one hour each.
According to the schedule, the EC will sit with National Democratic Movement (NDM), Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), Bangladesh Congress and Bangladesh Muslim League (BML) on the first day (tomorrow).
The commission has fixed July 20 for holding talks with BNP and July 31 for Awami League (AL).
The EC will sit with Bangladesh Islami Front, Bangladesh Sanskritik Muktijot, Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh Biplobi Workers Party on July 18.
Discussion with Bangladesh Kalyan Party, Islami Oikya Jote, Bangladesh Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh Samyabadi Dal will be held on July 19 while that with Ganatantri Party, Bangladesh National Awami Party and BNP on July 20, Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, Bangladesh Jatiya Party, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and Gano Front on July 21.
Dialogue with Bangladesh Khelafat Andolon, Jatiay Party (JP), Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD) and Islami Front will be held on July 24 while with Bangladesh Muslim League, Bangladesh Workers Party, Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal and Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) on July 25.
The EC has set July 26 for talks with Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Bangladesh, Bikalpa Dhara Bangladesh, Islami Andolon Bangladesh and National Peoples Party while July 27 for Bangladesh Jatiya Party (BJP), Jaker Party and Krishak Sramik Janata League, July 28 for Gano Forum, Bangladesh National Awami Party (NAP) and Bangladesh Communist Party (CPB) and July 31 for Jatiya Party (JP) and Awami League.
The current EC, led by Kazi Habibul Awal, held dialogue with educationalists and intellectuals on March 13, civil society members on March 22, editors and journalists on April 6, editors and senior journalists of electronic media on April 18, representatives of election observer organisations on June 9 and election experts on June 12.
Besides, it sat with the registered political parties in three phases from June 19, 21 and 26 on the use of EVMs.
However, BNP and some other parties did not join the talks.