Municipal, rural local govt polls from December on party basis

Municipal, rural local govt polls from December on party basis

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Dhaka – The Election Commission (EC) has decided to hold elections in 245 out of 323 municipalities in December this year.
Polls in the remaining municipalities would be held on completion of the mayors’ tenures, government news agency BSS reported on Thursday quoting an official of the Election Ccommission secretariat. “There are over 4,500 union parishads (UPs), (lowest tier of local government in rural areas) in the country, and the first phase of UP elections is likely to start by March next year,” the EC official added, BSS reported.
The government has of late taken a decision to amend the local government laws to allow elections on a party basis. This would be a departure from the tradition of keeping election to local government bodies out of direct participation by political parties to maintain a non-party character of these institutions.
The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (Bnp) has termed the initiative as one to make control of the ruling party on the local government elections total. Under elections on a party basis government ministers and members of Parliament would no longer face legal hurdle in campaigning for candicates. Since most opposition political activists and leaders are in jail or behind the bars local governmnt elections would turn into an one-party affair, they fear. Bnp leaders have said that all these efforts are geared to secure one-party rule.
Secretary of EC Secretariat Sirajul Islam said the EC will consider experiences of Indian local government elections for introducing partisan election system in holding local government polls in the country.
“We are examining electoral laws and rules of local government election system in India,” he said, adding that the EC is yet to make formal contact with the Indian election authorities. If necessary, EC will talk to the Indian election authorities on partisan local government electoral system , Sirajul added.
EC Secretariat said government has decided to hold partisan local government election and it has taken decision to change the electoral laws.
He said according to the electoral laws, the EC has to hold elections to municipalities within the last 90 days of the incumbent mayors’ tenures.
The EC sources said elections of district councils will be held after preparing electoral code of conduct. Narayanganj and Comilla City Corporations polls are likely to be held in mid 2016, they added.

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