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Dhaka Tribune

EC will weigh Oikya Front’s demand to reschedule polls

EC secretary says the commission is distressed by the clash in Naya Paltan

Update : 15 Nov 2018, 12:56 AM

The Election Commission will consider demands to reschedule the election once again.

Commission Secretary Helal Uddin told the press at the commission after holding separate meetings with ruling Awami League and opposition alliance Jatiya Oikya Front on Wednesday, that the commission would weigh Oikya Front’s demand to push back the election.

After declaring that the 11th general election will be held on December 23, the commission rescheduled it once to December 30.

However, Secretary Helal Uddin said it would be difficult for the commission to hold the election in January.

He said Jatiya Oikya Front has asked that the election day be pushed further back.

“The commission has told them there are a number of issues in January, like gazette notification, Biswa Ijtema," he added.

Asked about the clash between BNP activists and police earlier in the day, Helaluddin said the commission was distressed by the incident.

“This was unexpected. The Election Commission expects that this will not repeat itself and has promised to investigate the incident,” he said.

Asked for the commission’s response to Oikya Front’s allegation that the clash indicated a lack of proper environment for election, Secretary Helaluddin said: “This can be called an accident. We have seen a festive mood during nomination paper sales on all sides, and we have welcomed this.

“It will be ensured that these sort of incidents do not take place again.”

The secretary was asked why the commission told police to take action against processions at nomination sales, after Awami League’s sales were over and BNP’s had begun.

He replied: “Our letter applies to everyone. In future when people go to turn in their nomination paper they cannot do showdowns. That is what we told the IGP, and we told the returning officer to monitor for violations of the electoral code of conduct.”

Helal Uddin admitted that processions in front of party offices were not in violation of the electoral code.

“Nomination paper sale and submission is part of the  election process. But we have heard in the media that people are suffering in traffic. Therefore we wanted to ensure that the roads do not get congested,” he said.

He added that the law enforcement was now under the command of the Election Commission and would follow its instructions.

On the issue of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s participation in the election, Helal Uddin said the commission had no say in the matter.

“This is a legal issue and will be resolved through legal processes,” he said.

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