UZ, DCC polls by last week of Oct
Friday, 29 August 2008

Says top official

Staff Correspondent

Upazila and Dhaka City Corporation polls will be held in the last week of October, with the exact dates to be announced at the start of September, a top election official has said.

"The Election Commission is ready to hold elections to a maximum number of upazilas between 23-31 October," Election Commissioner Muhammad Sohul Hossain told Tuesday.
The EC also plans to hold the Dhaka City Corporation polls at the tail end of the month, he said.
The schedule would be announced sometime in the first half of September, he added.
In view of its experience of holding city and municipal polls in early August, and with regard to maintaining law and order, the EC is considering holding the UZ elections on two different days, he said.
"The upazila polls have never been held over a day in the past," said Hossain to "To maintain law and order throughout, the EC envisages holding the polls in phases."
With the Chief Election Commissioner in the chair, the EC held a meeting on Monday where proposals for holding the UZ polls on two different dates in the last week of October emerged, an EC official told
For the UZ polls, he said the first date may be Oct 23 and the second some 2-4 days later, each polls completing elections at over a hundred upazilas.
The DCC elections are likely to be held within 7-10 days of the UZ polls, on Oct 29 or 30, he said.
The CEC told reporters Tuesday that the EC must hold the UZ polls in October.
Previously, on July 21, the CEC had told that they were contemplating holding the UZ polls on Oct 23, which might involve polls in over 300 upazilas, subject to the finalisation of voter rolls.
Till Aug 21, voter lists with photos were completed and finally published for 303 zones out of a nationwide total of 490, which includes 297 upazilas.
According to the EC, holding polls at 130-210 upazilas may be possible with the present resources.
The total number of upazilas, as per local government ministry listings, stands at 482, which means that after the first spell of the UZ polls held in October, the remainder upazilas may have elections after the national polls.
Some political parties, especially Awami League and BNP, are opposed to holding UZ polls ahead of national elections, though the government and the EC are firm on holding them as planned.
Sohul Hossain said: "After further talks with political parties are over, the number of upazilas polls to be held will be determined."
The first ever UZ elections were held in 1985 on May 16 and 20. The last elections were held on March 14-25 in 1990.

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