Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda has said the army should be deployed during the upcoming national elections.
“I think army should be deployed in the national elections. Army personnel were deployed during previous general polls,” he told a discussion on voting rights of expatriates organized by the Election Working Group at CIRDAP auditorium on Sunday.
The CEC said: “But I cannot make the decision alone. We will take the final decision together after holding a meeting with all election commissioners.”
He, however, said, they do not want to deploy troops in local government polls. “So there is no possibility of deploying the army in the local government elections.”
On expatriates' franchise he said: “Our existing law provides the opportunity of postal voting. But there is no law on allowing proxy voting for expatriates.
“We will discuss the matter. Expatriates can cast their vote within 15 days after the announcement of polls schedule. But most people are not aware of it.”
Apart from this, the commission is considering ways to arrange franchise for a large number of expatriates, the CEC said.
“The commission will sit for a meeting with election experts on April 19 to discuss the matter.”
BNP Standing Committee Member Nazrul Islam Khan, who was also present at the event, said: “Our army personnel play a special role in different countries around the world. But they are kept away from the polls in our country.”
He said their party demanded army deployment for the general elections during a dialogue with the commission.
“We have been demanding the deployment of the army from the beginning. But a group does not want to deploy troops,” he said.
Awami League Presidium Member Faruk Khan said: “This is for the Election Commission to take the decision on army deployment in the elections. The government has nothing to do with that.
“Even then some political parties are spreading propaganda by creating confusion over the issue,” he said.
Faruk said that the commission had told them during a dialogue the army would be deployed in the next general elections.
Election Working Group director Md Abdul Alim read out the keynote paper.
According to the keynote, the number of expatriates was about 7.5 million in the mid 2017.