Only seven political parties have so far applied to the Election Commission (EC) for registration though the application deadline this time expires on December 31 next.
Unlike 2013 and 2008, this time only a handful of new political parties showed interest to get registered with the Election Commission.
In 2013, some 43 new political parties applied to the Election Commission for registration and the then commission headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad approved the registration of only two parties --Bangladesh Sangskritik Muktijot (Muktijote) and Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF)--a few months before the 2014 national election.
On October 30, the present commission headed by KM Nurul Huda issued public notification seeking applications within December 31, from political parties to get registered with it.
Bangladesh Islamic Gazi, Bangladesh Janata Party, Jamiyate Ulamaye Islam and Nezame Islam Party, Bangladesh Jalali Party and Sonar Bangla Unnyan League, are among the parties that applied for registration, commission officials said.
"After the expiry of the application submission deadline, the commission will form a committee to scrutinize whether the applicants fulfill the conditions for registration," commission acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed said adding that some applications were incomplete.
The Election Commission will also ask intelligence agencies to provide information about the new parties before making the final decision to register the parties, he told UNB.
The final list of the new parties is likely to be published in March, 2018, the acting secretary said.
As per the Representation of the People Order 1972, only registered political parties will be eligible to contest the parliamentary elections and local elections with their respective permanent election symbols reserved by the Election Commission, while unregistered parties can contest the polls fielding independent candidates.
Ahead of the ninth parliamentary elections in 2008, the commission headed by ATM Shamsul Huda for the first time took initiative to bring Bangladesh’s political parties under the Election Commission's registration.
A total of 117 political parties applied for the registration following a public notification issued on October 15, 2008 in this regard.
But only 39 parties out of the 117 applicants were registered after the submission of their draft organizational charters to meet the condition of getting registered.
Later, the commission cancelled the registration of Freedom Party, one of the 39 registered parties, as the government banned the party and it did not submit its amended charter.
Besides, the registration of Jamaat-e Islami was cancelled following a order of the High Court in August 2013, that declared its registration illegal.
In February, 2013, the Election Commission provided registration to another party --Bangladesh Muslim League-BML.
The number of registered political parties is now 40, including the two that got registration in 2013.
According the Article 90 (B) of the RPO, if any political party desires to be registered, it needs to fulfill one of the three conditions.
The three conditions are securing at least one seat with its electoral symbol in any parliamentary election held since Bangladesh's independence; or securing 5% of total votes in the constituencies in which its candidates took part in any of the aforesaid parliamentary elections; or established a functional central office, by whatever name it may be called with a central committee, district offices in at least in one-third administrative districts, offices in at least one hundred upazilas or metropolitan unit having a minimum number of 200 voters as its members in each of them.