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.Full Article: Election Commission moves to change poll symbols for female candidates - bdnews24.com.
Articles about voting issues in the People’s Republic of Bangladesh.
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.Full Article: Election Commission weighs no holiday on vote days - bdnews24.com.
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.Full Article: Election Commission embarrassed over Electronic Voting Machines - bdnews24.com.
Australia and Canada called on Thursday on the Election Commission and all responsible authorities to swiftly and impartially investigate the reports of irregularities and violence, and ensure that individuals found to have broken the law are held to account, reports UNB. In a joint statement, Australian High Commissioner Greg Wilcock and Canadian High Commissioner Benoît-Pierre Laramée expressed their concern about the many reports of ‘electoral irregularities’ and ‘violence’ during the City Corporation elections in Dhaka and Chittagong on April 28.Full Article: Australia, Canada want quick probe into poll irregularities | POLITICS & POLICIES | Financial Express :: Financial Newspaper of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh: Opposition members go into hiding following violent national election | Associated Press
Opposition members in Bangladesh have gone into hiding as police carry out sweeping raids after the country’s violent national election, a news report and a rights group said Thursday. The ruling party easily won Sunday’s election, which was marred by street fighting, low turnout and an opposition boycott, with at least 18 people dying in election-related violence. The vote only exacerbated tensions in this South Asian nation, which has a grim history of political unrest. Political violence has convulsed Bangladesh in recent months as opposition activists staged attacks, strikes and transportation blockades to protest Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government. Nearly 300 people have been killed in the violence since last February. After her party swept the largely uncontested elections, Hasina said Monday that her first priority was to contain the violence with an “iron hand.”Full Article: Bangladesh opposition members go into hiding following violent national election | Toronto Star.
Bangladesh: Another beating: Sheikh Hasina plans to hang on to office after an electoral farce | The Economist
It is becoming hard to know whether Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh’s prime minister, is a cynically good actress or cut off from political reality. Smiling before journalists in Dhaka, the capital, on January 6th, she chided opposition parties for their “mistake” in boycotting general elections the day before, then waved aside doubts over the legitimacy of her victory. Either way, her country’s democracy is in a rotten state. Of a potential electorate of 92m (out of more than 150m people), only a minority turned out. The government says just under 40% voted in contested seats; others think much less. It does not give Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League (AL), which has ruled since 2009, much of a basis for another term. Many polling stations saw almost no voters, then suspiciously large numbers of ballots cast late in the day. Of the 300 constituencies, just over half, 153, had no contest at all, since only AL candidates or allies registered. In the capital voting took place in just nine of 20 seats.Full Article: Bangladesh’s election: Another beating | The Economist.
Bangladesh’s governing party celebrated its victory in general elections on Monday, dismissing critics who said the vote’s legitimacy was undercut by violence, low turnout and the absence of the country’s main opposition force from the ballots. The party, the Awami League, won 232 of the 300 seats in Bangladesh’s new Parliament, about half of the victors unopposed. Partial results published by Bangladesh’s Election Commission put the average turnout on Sunday at 39.8 percent, though that figure appeared to have been padded by an influx of pro-government activists who arrived at polling stations shortly before they closed. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, receiving journalists in her home on Monday, put the blame on the main opposition force, the Bangladesh National Party, which boycotted the election and carried out a campaign to discourage turnout. Some observers had hoped that the poor results would force the warring parties to negotiate a new, more inclusive round of elections. But Mrs. Hasina took a tough tone on Monday, saying she would not enter talks unless the opposition first renounced violence.Full Article: Bangladesh’s Governing Party Wins Vote Amid Unrest - NYTimes.com.
At least 18 people were killed in elections in Bangladesh on Jan. 5, in a bloody culmination to months of violent protest. With an opposition-led boycott of the vote leaving 153 out of 300 parliament seats uncontested, the foregone conclusion that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ruling Awami League (AL) would remain in power translated into an abysmal voter turnout of some 20%, according to early reports. News of widespread violence on voting day kept many voters away. Though the streets of the capital city of Dhaka remained relatively quiet on Sunday, dozens of voting booths around the country were reportedly set on fire over the weekend. Other voters were simply disillusioned with the whole process. “It’s a very bad situation,” said Mohammed Abdul Salam, a businessman in Dhaka, who did not vote. “We have no choice.”Full Article: Bangladesh Elections Marred By Violence and Low Turnout | TIME.com.
The much-awaited Bangladeshi election was marred by violence as the eight hours-long voting closed at 4 p.m. with reports of low turnout because of panic among voters and widespread boycott by the opposition. Polling ended in all 147 parliamentary constituencies across the country amid attacks by the anti-poll activists which forced the Election Commission to suspend voting in at least 161 centres. A total of 390 candidates from the ruling Awami League-led alliance contested in the 147 constituencies where there was no formidable opposition. Interestingly, in many constituencies, the ruling party candidates faced formidable party rebels. The total number of polling centres was 18,208. The situation worsened from Friday night when opposition activists set on fire as many as 100 polling centres over 49 centres on Saturday and Sunday. They also beat a presiding officer to death in Thakurgaon .Full Article: Violence mars poll in Bangladesh - The Hindu.
Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina ruled out Thursday any last-minute cancelation of weekend elections that have been boycotted by the opposition, accusing her rivals of holding the country hostage. In a final address to the nation ahead of Sunday’s violence-plagued polls, Hasina accused opposition leader Khaleda Zia of shunning dialogue and rejecting an offer to share power in an interim administration. “We have tried our best to bring the BNP (Bangladesh Nationalist Party) into the elections,” Hasina, who is the leader of the ruling Awami League, said in a 40-minute televised address. “Zia spurned my offer for dialogue and instead chose the path of confrontation. “The Jan. 5 polls will be held in accordance with the constitution,” she added.Full Article: Bangladesh premier rules out election cancelation | Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more..
Bangladesh: Thousands take to the streets of Dhaka as Bangladesh election storm grows | The Independent
Fresh political violence broke out in the Bangladeshi capital on Sunday as thousands of protesters turned out on the streets of Dhaka to oppose forthcoming elections they denounced as fraudulent. Thousands of security officers attempted to quell the demonstrations that left two people dead. Twenty-one political parties, including an 18 party opposition alliance led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), have said they will not take part in the elections scheduled for 5 January, after their demands for the country to be run by a neutral caretaker government during the polls were denied. M Shahiduzzaman, a security analyst and a professor of international relations at the University of Dhaka, said the elections are not democratic or inclusive. The EU, the Commonwealth nations and the US have said they will not be sending observers to monitor the polls because they are not “credible”. “The crisis and the violence is likely to intensify,” warned Mr Shahiduzzaman.Full Article: Thousands take to the streets of Dhaka as Bangladesh election storm grows - Asia - World - The Independent.
Violent clashes erupted in Bangladesh on Sunday as opposition supporters took to the streets to protest against a January 5 general election which they are boycotting. The opposition says it will not take part in the vote unless an interim government oversees it and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina steps down. The boycott means more than half of 300 parliament seats will go uncontested, undermining the legitimacy of the election and making it highly unlikely it will do anything to restore stability in one of the world’s poorest countries. The leader of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), Begum Khaleda Zia, called for a march on the capital, Dhaka, in defiance of a police ban to protest against what she calls the “farcical” election.Full Article: Protests against Bangladesh election turn violent | Reuters.
Tens of thousands of troops are being deployed across Bangladesh to try to prevent potential political violence ahead of next month’s elections. This comes as main opposition leader Khaleda Zia has urged her supporters to stage nationwide protests. She says she will boycott the 5 January general elections unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina quits and a neutral caretaker government is installed. Ms Hasina’s government has rejected the opposition’s demand. Caretaker governments previously oversaw elections, but Ms Hasina scrapped the arrangement in 2011.Full Article: BBC News - Bangladesh deploys army ahead of January elections.
The U.S. expressed disappointment with Bangladesh’s political leaders and joined the European Union in declining to send observers for next month’s election amid growing violence in Asia’s fifth-most populous country. With more than half of the seats in the parliamentary election on Jan. 5 uncontested, Bangladesh’s main political parties should redouble efforts to find a peaceful way to settle their disputes, Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement yesterday. The move by the U.S. follows a decision by the European Union last week to refrain from sending observers until conditions allow for a transparent, inclusive and credible election. “The people of Bangladesh deserve the opportunity to elect their national representatives in a climate free of violence and intimidation,” Psaki said. “The nation’s political leadership -– and those who aspire to lead -– must ensure law and order.”Full Article: U.S. Won’t Observe Bangladesh Vote as Political Violence Spreads - Businessweek.
Bangladesh: Bangladesh Election Commission considering bigger role for Electronic Voting Machines | bdnews24.com
The Election Commission is mulling over using the electronic voting machines in the national elections riding on its overwhelming success in the Comilla city polls. Bangladesh’s smallest city corporation went to the vote on Thursday without any ballot paper to mark the first full-fledged electronic election in Bangladesh. The electronic machines were experimentally used in Chittagong and Narayanganj city corporation elections.
Citizens Committee candidate Monirul Haque Sakku, an expelled BNP leader, claimed a landslide victory and became the first mayor of Comilla with 65,577 votes, while his nearest rival ruling Awami League-backed Afzal Khan got 36,471 votes. During the daylong ballot, where a total of 169,273 voters cast their votes at 421 polling booths of the 65 polling centres from 8am to 4pm, both voters and the contestants expressed their satisfaction with regard to the EVMs.Full Article: EC considering bigger role for EVM | Bangladesh | bdnews24.com.
The opposition will accept no election with electronic voting machines in use under a partisan government, BNP chief Khaleda Zia said, adding that army will have to be deployed in the upcoming election. “We will not accept any vote under the partisan government. We will not allow such elections in the country. Now they [the government] are conspiring two things, holding the polls without deploying army and getting the ballots on EVM,” Khaleda told a wayside in Jessore on Sunday, as part of her two-day road march to Khulna.
“We want to say that no polls without the army (deployment) will be allowed. The EVMs are vote manipulation machines. We do not accept them.” The BNP-backed candidate was withdrawn from the Narayanganj City Corporation mayoral race only seven hours before the vote on Oct 30 as the army was not deployed.Full Article: No vote without army: Khaleda | Politics | bdnews24.com.
The Election Commission has banned city corporation polls candidates from using billboards and live animal and birds in their publicity campaigns. “A sub-clause is being included into the electoral code of conduct to this end,” senior assistant secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat, Mohammad Forhad Hossain told bdnews24.com.
EC secretary Mohammad Sadique requested the law ministry to issue a circular on the matter in a letter sent on Monday. Out of the 68 symbols set to be allocated to mayor and councillor posts contenders under the local government election guideline, 12 are pictures of animals and birds – tiger, duck, butterfly, fish, crocodile, rabbit, parrot, deer, stork, cow, chicken and elephant.Full Article: No birds, animals, billboards in campaign | Politics | bdnews24.com.
Leaders of political parties yesterday said the maiden election to Narayanganj City Corporation was largely peaceful, fair and free. However, their opinions go different ways from there on with ruling alliance leaders praising the voters for exercising their franchise and opposition leaders bashing the government for “compelling” them to pull out of the race.
Parties of the ruling alliance claimed that the election has once again proved that a free, fair and peaceful election can be held when an elected government is in power, if all necessary arrangements are ensured and voters are enthusiastic. Opposition BNP leaders, however, claim that the government made it impossible for them to stay in the race and they have rejected the election.
Their ally Jamaat-e-Islami refused to even make any comment. Jamaat Assistant Publication Secretary Matiur Rahman Akand only said that they have nothing to say since the opposition alliance has pulled out its mayoral candidate.Full Article: Free, fair, quiet.
BNP-backed Taimur Alam Khandaker has altogether opposed use of Electronic Voting Machines in the Narayanganj City Corporation, Selina Hayat Ivy preferred it in three instead of nine centres while Shamim Osman went the whole hog for it. Ivy said she will make relatively fewer promises as she is against tall talks after Shamim Osman rattled off his successes when he was the Narayanganj-1 MP.
The war of words between Ivy and Shamim began in earnest in the televised debate, with Ivy firing the first salvo at her ‘elder brother’, saying he puts the party behind everything else. The people are behind me, the former Narayanganj municipality said during the primetime Election Commission debate. Shamim, on his part, said it is difficult to work without party support. “BNP did it first. We did it in response.”Full Article: Shamim, Ivy back EVM, Taimur opposes | | bdnews24.com.