The Election Commission (EC) starts its dialogue with the registered political parties today as part of its move to seek opinions from the stakeholders about holding the next general election in a free, fair and credible manner.
The dialogue starts through talks with four tiny parties -- National Democratic Movement, Bangladesh Nationalist Front, Bangladesh Congress and Bangladesh Muslim League.
On completion of the talks with the registered political parties, the EC will finalise the road map to the parliamentary elections with focus on 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.
It has already formulated a draft road map with a target to hold the polls by January 2024, said EC sources. The guidelines will be finalised after the 15-day dialogue that ends on July 31.
According to the earlier decision, the commission 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 (BNP) and two parties on the day it sits with Awami League (AL).
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.
The commission has fixed July 20 for holding talks with BNP and July 31 for main opposition Jatiya Party and ruling Awami League.
It wants the next election to be held under a neutral administration instead of the election-time government, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
The EC will sit with Bangladesh Islami Front, Bangladesh Sanskritik Muktijot, Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh Biplobi Workers Party tomorrow.
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 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 on June 19, 21 and 26 on the use of EVMs.
However, BNP and some other parties did not join the talks.