EC steadfast on 8 Nov polls announcement, use of EVMs

EC steadfast on 8 Nov polls announcement, use of EVMs

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Dhaka, Nov 6 – The Election Commission (EC) is reported to be steadfast in declaring the schedule on November 8 and its decision to use EVMs in the next election. As the countdown for the general elections has begun, the political field has now become heated with dialogues between the ruling party Awami League and other political parties and alliances.
The political parties are sitting with the government for talks over resolving a long-standing political impasse over certain issues like the dissolution of the parliament, formation of election time government with all parties, release of the political persons from jail and above all creating a level playing field for holding free and fair elections.
The dialogue is not only fixed among the political parties. The parties are also seeking dialogues with the Election Commission as well and the Commission is promptly giving them time to sit across the table to listen to their demands including deferment of schedule till dialogue is ended.
But EC is unwilling to listen to the demands of the political parties for the deferment of the schedule saying they will announce the schedule what they have previously fixed the date on November 8.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda yesterday said there is no way to defer the declaration of the election schedule.
But he, however, said the elections can be delayed if all the political parties want.
The CEC stated it in reply to the query of the journalists at a workshop at the Election Training Institute Bhaban in the capital.
“As per the Constitutional obligation, the election has to be held by 28 January 2019. We cannot go beyond it. There is no way to defer election schedule date. But if all political parties want for the delay of the election, we can delay it for a few days,” he said.
Earlier, Commission said they will announce the schedule on Nov 8 and hold the elections by December.
The CEC told the journalists that they want to hold the elections by December because January is a ‘disturbing’ month. “You know, the religious congregation Ijtema is held in January. The law enforcers remain busy for it. The month of January is very cold as well. It’s risky to carry election materials in North Bengal and Charland areas due to heavy fog and cold. So the elections should be held by December.”
The newly formed political alliance comprising of Bangladesh Nationalist Party and other small parties the Jatiya Oikyafront on Monday held a meeting with several demands including not to introduce electronic voting machines (EVMs) in elections as there are chances of manipulation of votes.
But CEC yesterday said they are determined to use it. He said, “There is no alternative to use EVMs to protect the voting interest of the voters. There are various problems in using ballot papers. EVMs will be used to avert such problems and there is no scope for vote rigging by the machines.”
He also said the Commission has decided to introduce EVMs in the urban areas as a preliminary test on a random basis. – Staff reporter

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