The Election Commission is most likely to complete the registration process of new political parties by March.
Around 76 parties have sought registration with the commission ahead of the 11th parliamentary elections.
An Election Commission committee, headed by its Additional Secretary Mokhlesur Rahman, has started scrutinizing the applications to know whether the parties fulfil the conditions for registration.
Last week, the commission sent a list of 76 new parties to the Home Ministry asking the intelligence agencies to examine if there is any banned political outfit among the applicants, Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed said.
"The committee will submit its report to the Election Commission Secretariat on March 8 next and then place it in the commission's meeting for its final decision," he said.
Mokhlesur Rahman, also convener of the scrutiny committee, said: "There is a possibility to complete the registration process by March."
But, the Election Commission officials said they are not getting the existence of offices and activities of many of the 76 political parties during their initial scrutiny, which is one of the prerequisites to be eligible for registration.
They have found commercial entities, houses and shops in the office locations the parties mentioned in their applications. This time, the commission may award registration to a handful of parties.
After the issuance of a public notification on October 30, 2017, a total of 76 political parties applied to the commission seeking registration within the December 31 deadline.
As per the Representation of the People Order 1972, only registered political parties are eligible to contest the national election 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 initiatives to bring Bangladesh's political parties under the Election Commission's registration.
A total of 117 political parties had applied for the registration following a public notification issued on October 15, 2008 but only 39 parties were registered after the submission of their draft organizational charters.
Later, the commission cancelled the registration of Freedom Party, one of the 39 registered parties, as the government banned the party.
Besides, the registration of Jamaat-e-Islami was cancelled after a High Court order in August 2013 declared its registration illegal.
In February 2013, the commission registered to another party --Bangladesh Muslim League-BML.
In 2013, some 43 new political parties applied to the Election Commission seeking registration and the then commission headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad awarded the registration to only two parties --Bangladesh Sangskritik Muktijot (Muktijote) and Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF)-a few months before the 2014 national election.
The number of registered political parties is now 40, including the three that got registration in 2013.
According the Article 90 (B) of the RPO, if any political party desires to be registered, it needs to fulfil one of the three conditions.
The 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 cast 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 two hundred voters as its members in each of them.