The Election Commission (EC) is weighing doing away with the general holiday on election days, arguing it affects voter turnout. But former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda has scoffed at the idea, dubbing it as “unrealistic”. Voting days are public holidays in Bangladesh to facilitate balloting. The country enjoys holiday during general elections, but in local polls, only areas where balloting takes place enjoy the facility.
Although there are no specific directions in the election law, the government announces public holidays at the EC’s request. However, several election commissioners have advocated cancelling the holiday.
They argue that other countries do not declare holidays on polling days and voter turnout is low in Bangladesh as the voting day is a holiday.
Election Commissioner Abu Hafiz, who saw the UK polls last month, has already issued a note against polling day being declared a public holiday.