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Tuesday, 15 July 2008

M Sakhawat HossainNational election

Says EC

Staff Correspondent

The schedule for the national election will be announced in November and that for upazila polls in August, said election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters at the Election Commission Secretariat, he said: "We will announce the schedule for upazila elections by the middle or end of next month. So elections to 300-350 upazilas will be held in the first half of October. Polls to the remaining upazilas will be held after the national elections."
 
Sakhawat said the EC has already created the Upazila Parishad Ordinance, mentioning that the upazila election schedule would be announced 45 to 50 days ahead of the actual polls, due to Ramadan, to give candidates ample time for campaigning.
 
He said that the national elections were still on track to be held in the third week of December in line with the roadmap.
 
"We informed the chief adviser on Saturday on preparations for the elections. We told him when we will hold the polls and what the government will have to do."
 
He said the EC had requested the government to make changes quickly in field level administration ahead of upazila polls, especially among the returning officers and police officials who are directly involved with elections.
 
"The concerned ministry has been directed to immediately withdraw Rajshahi additional divisional commissioner Md Akhteruzzaman," he added.
 
The returning officer on July 8 cancelled nomination papers of five councillor candidates in the Rajshahi City Corporation polls, but Akhtaruzzaman later announced the candidacies valid. The EC upheld the returning officer's original decision.
 
The election commissioner said: "The government has been asked to immediately remove any officials involved with election related activities if he does anything wrong or illegal."
 
He said laws would be strictly enforced during the ensuing city and municipal elections. "If any candidate violates the election code of conduct, the commission will cancel his candidacy as well as taking punitive measures."
 
Seeking political parties' cooperation in the local body elections, Sakhawat said: "Election campaigning for the upcoming four city corporation and nine municipal elections will start Monday."
 
"No political party should get involved directly with in campaigning or use it as a party platform."
 
He added: "The election commission alone can not hold a fair election. But we are going towards democracy. The politicians and the voters also have important roles in ensuring the proper environment for elections."
 
He urged all to take lessons from the past and called upon voters to cast their votes judiciously.
 
He said the EC will hold meetings with different ministries and divisions regarding the law and order situation during the city and municipal elections on July 17.

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