Local polls to go ahead Aug 4: CEC
Sunday, 22 June 2008

CEC ATM Shamsul Huda Friday announces the election schedule for four city corporations and nine municipalities at the Election Commission.Bdnews24.com

Elections to four city corporations and nine municipalities will be held on August 4, chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda said Friday.

The CEC announced the date at a press conference at the Election Commission Secretariat, amid objections from the two major political parties and their allies who oppose the move to hold local polls before the national election.

It will be the first elections to be held by the present Election Commission, which has set a deadline for submission of nomination forms by July 3, scrutiny of nominations on July 6-7, and withdrawal of candidature by July 13.

The four city corporations are Barisal, Khulna, Rajshahi and Sylhet.

The municipalities are Manikganj Sadar, Sreepur in Gazipur, Fulbaria in Mymensingh, Chudanga Sadar, Shariatpur Sadar, Sitakunda in Chittagong, Nawhata in Rajshahi, Dupchanchia in Bogra and Golapganj in Sylhet.

Schedules for other municipalities and Dhaka City Corporation will be announced later in phases, the CEC said.

A BNP faction led by Khandaker Delwar Hossain, and its three allied parties, had already announced a protest programme to be held on June 30 in opposition to the EC's move to hold local government polls before the national election.

At a meeting of the four-party alliance Friday, Delwar said protest programmes would continue.

Awami League met the CEC's announcement Friday by demanding "withdrawal" of the local poll schedule, terming it "a farce" and "a conspiracy".

However, ALleaders have recently said that the party has yet to take a final decision on whether to contest the local government polls before the national polls.

The CEC along with election commissioners Muhammed Sohul Hussain and M Sakhawat Hussain took office in February last year, in the wake of the 1/11 upheaval.

In May, the EC embarked on the massive undertaking to properly enlist and photograph all eligible voters in the country.

According to an election roadmap previously announced by the EC, elections to the city corporations and municipalities were supposed to be held in mid-July this year.

There are a total of six city corporations and 308 municipalities in the country.

Elections to Khulna and Rajshahi city corporations were last held on April 25, 2002, and to Sylhet and Barisal on March 20 2003.

The government has already formulated a ordinances relating to local polls.

CEC Shamsul Huda said Friday the electoral code of conduct must be followed strictly during the local elections.

The Election Commission will remain strict in enforcing the laws, he said.

Though the government has announced the relaxation of emergency powers rules to ease campaigning by candidates—election showdowns, multi-coloured posters, illuminations, setting up of camps and erecting arches are banned by the EC, Huda said..

The CEC warned the candidates against the violation of these rules.

Huda also pledged a smooth national election, which he said would come after upazila parishad elections.

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