City corporation candidates may appear in televised debates
Thursday, 28 February 2008

Staff Correspondent

Chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda said Wednesday that the EC will announce the schedule for the four city corporation elections in March with televised debates being planned prior to the polls.

"We are planning to hold televised debates between the candidates to the four city corporation polls, which may be broadcast on BTV, local private channels and the BBC," Huda said at the Election Commission Secretariat.

"If the city corporation election broadcasts are successful we will hold similar debates for the national polls," said the CEC during the second round of electoral reforms dialogue with the Jatiya Party. Huda said the EC had asked the chief adviser to create an atmosphere conducive for the elections.

He added that it was up to the caretaker administration to decide whether it would relax the state of emergency or lift it entirely ahead of the polls.

"We will hold elections to the defunct city corporations and municipalities in phases, even though most political parties do not support this ahead of the parliamentary elections," Huda said.

Sheikh Shahidul Islam led a 10-member Jatiya Party delegation to the reforms talks with election commissioners M Sakhawat Hossain and Mohammad Sohul Hossain also present. The JP's proposals include a resumption of indoor politics, announcing an election date, using transparent ballot boxes and prohibiting the politics of unregistered political parties.

Earlier in the day, the Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD-Rab) held talks with the commission. The EC will also sit with the Ganotantri Party Wednesday.

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