Bangladesh authorities on Monday (Nov 12) announced they were delaying next month’s general election by a week following an appeal from the country’s opposition alliance, an official said. “The vote will now be held on Dec 30,” Election Commission spokesman S.M Asaduzzaman told AFP. The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had protested the Dec 23 election date announced last week, saying more time was needed to prepare for the poll. The BNP – whose leader Khaleda Zia is behind bars – had asked for an extra month to campaign against Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Articles about voting issues in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
Authorities in Bangladesh have said they will hold a “free and fair” national election on December 23 despite bitter wrangling between the government and the opposition. Bangladesh’s Election Commission announced on Thursday that the election will take place despite the imprisonment of the leader of the main opposition party and the banning of its chief partner, Jamaat-e-Islami. “A favourable situation prevails in the country to hold a free and fair election,” Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda said in an address aired by state-run television and radio stations. Huda said he hoped all parties will participate in the election, in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking re-election.
Citing cybercrimes as a threat in the upcoming national polls, the ruling party apprehends that there may be violent consequences due to use of information technology in the country. Criminals may use social media to demoralize country’s democratic atmosphere. Cyberwar can be a crucial issue during the poll time period, as anti-democratic forces, militant groups and religious fundamentalists may misuse the social media to operate cyber war, warned law enforcement agencies. Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) high officials also said militant groups may use social media and online platforms to obstruct the 11th parliamentary election, scheduled at the end of 2018.
Bangladesh: National Economic Council approves USD 456 million project to procure electronic voting machines | Business Standard News
Bangladesh plans to buy 1.5 lakh electronic voting machines at a cost of nearly USD 456 million, the country’s top economic policy-making body announced Tuesday. The project was approved at the weekly Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) meeting here headed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal said the Prime Minister had directed that the voting machines should initially be used in urban areas as the number of educated people in cities and towns is higher. “The EVMs will be used mainly in urban areas at first and will gradually be introduced in other areas,” he was quoted as saying by the ‘Dhaka Tribune’.
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said on Monday that her government will hold a general election by the end of this year, as scheduled. “The election will take place on time and the people will exercise their voting rights,” Hasina said.
The prime minister was speaking at a press conference on her return home from an official visit to Italy and the Vatican. Hasina addressed threats from the Bangladesh National Party (BNP) that it will boycott the election unless its chairperson, Begum Khaleda Zia, is released from prison. Zia — who was herself prime minister of Bangladesh from 1991 to 1996 and from 2001 to 2006 — was sentenced to five years in jail for embezzlement on Feb. 8.
Bangladesh: Prime Minister says government considering using electronic voting machines in general elections | bdnews24
The government is considering introducing electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the parliamentary elections due by early 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has told Parliament. In response to an MP’s question on Wednesday, she said, “The plan to introduce E-voting in the next parliamentary election can be taken into consideration in order to further ensure the people’s voting right in accordance with all existing laws for free, fair and impartial elections.” The ruling Awami League proposed the introduction of E-voting during talks on forming the new Election Commission with President Md Abdul Hamid on Jan 11. The Awami League leaders later said they meant use of EVMs by E-voting.
Deadly violence has erupted during local elections in Bangladesh, leaving at least 13 people dead this week. Analysts said the mayhem shows the country’s democracy is struggling in the face of Islamist extremism and a divisive debate over how to deal with the legacy of its 1971 civil war. The election violence Tuesday night — including vicious political clashes between rival parties as well as security forces opening fire on rioters — was considered unusual for the impoverished South Asian nation. While attacks have accompanied national elections in the past, village-level polls have usually been peaceful. But with the two main political parties disagreeing over whether, and how, to punish war crimes committed during the country’s war of independence from Pakistan, public discourse has become more extreme, analysts said. Attacks carried out by Islamist extremists have led the secular government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to crack down with an increasingly heavy hand as it aims to reassure the international community about Bangladeshi security.
After coming under fire in the City Corporation and municipal polls, the Election Commission is changing symbols for female candidates. It had come under strong criticism for allotting household items to women during the city polls in April and the recent polls to 234 municipalities in December last year. An EC meeting on Tuesday proposed 10 new symbols dropping previous symbols like frying pan, ornaments and vegetables. Election Commissioner Md Shahnewaz said that they are now discussing over the proposed electoral rules and code of conducts for the upcoming Union Parishad (UP) polls. It will be finalised in a few days and forwarded to the law ministry for vetting, he added.
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.
Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) introduced to modernise the polling process have become a source of embarrassment for the Election Commission. The much-hyped machines have remained out of order for nearly two years after the commission stopped using them after detecting errors in three units during city polls between 2011-13. The EC negotiated with the manufacturers, Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), for a way out. However, the last BUET letter raised allegations of contract violation against the commission, adding to the embarrassment. But the EC claims it has not violated the contract.