The parliament will elect the next president of Bangladesh on February 19 as the tenure of incumbent President Md Abdul Hamid is nearing an end, Law Minister Anisul Huq said on Monday evening.
Anisul told reporters that he learnt about the schedule of the presidential polls from the Election Commission. "They are supposed to issue a circular in this connection," he said.
However, Election Commissioner Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury said they had yet to finalize the date for the election. “You [the press] will know about the election schedule when it is finalized.”
He declined to comment on the law minister’s announcement.
President Hamid, who assumed office in 2013, will finish his five-year term on April 23.
According to Article 123 of the constitution, presidential elections should be held between 90 and 60 days before the five-year term of the president expires, which means the next election will have to take place between January 24 and February 23.
The current session of the parliament began on January 7, and since the constitution stipulates that the president has to be elected by the members of parliament, a voting will take place during the current 19th session. This session is scheduled to run until February 28.
However, no voting will be needed if there is only one candidate.
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EC preparing for the polls
Meanwhile, the Election Commission has started taking preparations to hold the 21st presidential election next month.
Yesterday evening, acting Election Commission secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told reporters that the commission would hold a meeting in this connection on Thursday.
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda is also scheduled to meet Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury soon in this regard.
According to sources, the Election Commission Secretariat was directed to make preparations for the election in an urgent meeting of the election commissioners yesterday.
Commission officials have also started the process to prepare the nomination papers, among other steps.
Election Commissioner Kabita Khanam told reporters: “Organizing the presidential election is a constitutional obligation and the commission will take all necessary measures to hold it properly.”
An Election Commission official, requesting anonymity, said: “Today’s [yesterday's] meeting has discussed the overall preparation for the presidential election. A list of the lawmakers will be collected from the Parliament Secretariat in order to prepare the voter list.”
The official further said: “The CEC will be the returning officer of this election while the vote cast will take place in the parliament. Lawmakers will elect the president through an open vote by signing their full name on a paper.”
This article was first published on banglatribune.com