EC to announce local govt polls schedule in early June: Sohul
Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Election Commission is set to announce the schedule for elections to some local government bodies in early June, a senior election official said Saturday, reports bdnews24.com.

"Specific dates for the polls to the four city corporations and nine municipalities will be announced early June. Before that, we will formally ask the government to create an atmosphere congenial to campaigning and other election related activities, either by withdrawing the state of emergency or relaxing it," election commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain told bdnews24.com.

Polls to four city corporations and nine municipalities are expected to be held in mid July, Sohul said.

The four city corporations are Rajshahi, Sylhet, Barisal and Khulna, and the nine municipalities are Shariatpur, Sitakunda (Chittagong), Cox's Bazar, Golapganj (Sylhet), Sreepur (Gazipur), Fulbaria (Mymensingh), Manikganj, Nachole (Chapainawabganj) and Naohata (Rajshahi).

Sohul Hussain said voter lists of the areas were ready and polling centres had been finalised. Preparatory work like preparing voting forms and manuals would be complete before announcing the election schedule.

The EC will have a meeting with deputy election commissioners Monday to discuss overall preparation for the local polls. "The meeting is meant to listen to opinions from field level officials and to give them guidance," Sohul said.

He said that the schedule would be announced as soon as the preparation was complete.

Fellow election commissioner Sakhawat Hussain said the EC was planning to hold the elections to the above mentioned city corporations and municipalities on the same day.

Polls to Dhaka City Corporation would be held later, Sakhawat said.

The schedule will be announced up to 45 days before the election in consideration of the campaign for polls, Sakhawat said.

Another senior official of the EC secretariat said preparation to hold polls to the local government bodies was almost complete. Returning officers and assistant returning officers had been appointed. But the forms could not be printed as election codes of conduct had not been finalised yet.

On the matter, Sohul Hussain said the local government ordinance related to city corporation and municipalities had been gazetted. The election rules and codes of conducts will be sent to law ministry Sunday. They may be published by gazette in the first week of June.

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