EC to give unlisted potential polls candidates a last chance
Sunday, 24 August 2008

Voter enrollment

Staff Correspondent

The Election Commission is considering giving potential election candidates, still excluded from voter lists, a last chance to register, a senior election official said on Saturday.

The EC will also consider requests by some prospective candidates of local polls to change addresses as they have applied to re-register as voters in their own area, driven by a new law that local polls candidates must be voters in their own areas.
 
Mihir Sarwar, deputy secretary of the EC secretariat, told bdnews24.com that the commission had received over a hundred applications for voter re-registration with change of address.
 
He said they were applying to the EC to be reenlisted as voters in their own areas.
 
Chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda asked the EC secretariat on Aug 19 to present the applications at the next EC meeting.
 
EC secretary Muhammad Humayun Kabir told bdnews24.com that the EC would take necessary and timely steps regarding the applications.
 
As final voter lists have been prepared in many areas, the EC would take a decision on the matter, he said.
 
The country was divided into 490 areas under the programme to register voters and give them national identity cards. Final voter lists have been published for 303 of those areas.
 
According to the Upazila Parishad Ordinance 2008, those contesting for posts of UP chairman, vice chairmen and members must be voters in the related upazila.
 
The new regulations for the candidates of city corporations and municipality polls are the same.
 
With regard to parliamentary polls, the newly passed Representation of the People Order (Amendment) Ordinance 2008 states that non-voters will not be eligible to contest the national elections.
 
Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, however, has recently criticised the law saying the ordinance was inconsistent with the constitution.
 
"Any Bangladeshi citizen, according to the constitution, aged at least 25 can contest the general election," he said in the wake of controversy generated as detained former prime minster refused to register as a voter "from behind bars".
 
Sircar said there was no obstacle for Khaleda to contest the next parliamentary election although she had not enlisted as a voter.
 
Electoral roll rules suggest that the new voter lists can be corrected and people can be enrolled on the lists anytime, except during the run-up to the polls from announcement of election schedule.
 
The Electoral Rolls Ordinance 2007 entitles the EC to include new names or conversely to cancel names from the voter list.
 
But those rules will not be applicable for the national polls.
 
The application process for left-out voters in Dhaka city will be concluded Sunday, deputy election commissioner for Dhaka division told bdnews24.com.

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