The polls schedule has already been deferred by a week
The rescheduled general election date cannot be deferred again, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda has said.
The Election Commission had initially set December 23 as the day of voting, but later pushed it back by a week to December 30.
“There is no possibility of deferring the election schedule after December 30. We have completed all preparations,” he said while briefing returning officers at the commission office in Dhaka on Tuesday.
He instructed the election officials to carry out their duties “neutrally and without any fear.”
BNP, one of Bangladesh’s largest political parties, has been spearheading demands to defer the election by a month. BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia, convicted in two corruption cases, is currently in jail.
Khaleda’s party boycotted the 2014 election, allowing Awami League to retain power with an overwhelming majority in parliament. This time, BNP is preparing to contest the election.
Also Read- General election rescheduled to December 30
Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader has said his party does not have any problem with the general election schedule being deferred by a month.
He said it was up to the Election Commission to decide.
‘Not enough time’
The CEC explained that parliament would have to sit on January 29 next year.
“So there is not enough time. We will need to publish gazettes for all 300 constituencies after the polls,” he said. “It will take time.”
Apart from this, the Biswa Ijtema will start on January 11. Members of law enforcement agencies will be brought from across Bangladesh to prevent untoward incidents at the second largest gatherings of Muslims in the world.
“We needed to take more time [for the election], but we could not do it,” the CEC said.
“We are happy since all the parties are going to participate in the upcoming election,” hed added. “However, there is no possibility of deferring the election date.”