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December 23 is Bangladesh general election, Official


December 23 is Bangladesh general election, Official

Bangladesh’s Chief Election Commissioner said on Thursday that the South Asian nation would hold a general election on Dec. 23, and said that the commission would ensure free and fair election.
Nurul Huda, the Head of the Election Commission, said this during a nationwide address aired by state-run television and radio stations.
Huda said he hoped all parties would participate in the election, in which Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, is seeking re-election.
“A favourable situation prevails in the country to hold a free and fair election,’’ adding that preparations for the election had already been completed.
According to the schedule, poll aspirants will have to submit their nomination forms by Nov. 19 and the last date for withdrawing candidature is fixed for Nov. 29.
Huda said there would be 40,000 voting centres in the country, and more than 600,000 law enforcement personnel would be deployed to ensure a free and fair election.
Bangladesh’s ruling Awami League Party on Wednesday rejected an opposition party’s demand for a caretaker government, ahead of the election.
The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) says that a caretaker government is essential for free and fair polls, but the ruling party says the demand is unconstitutional.
“I urge political parties to participate in the election to make it meaningful,” said Huda.
He added that if parties had any differences of opinion they should resolve these via dialogue, but not boycotting the elections.
It is still not immediately clear whether the BNP plans to contest the elections. BNP boycotted the last election in 2014 that was marred by deadly violence and shunned by international observer.
Following Huda’s announcement, BNP Secretary-General, Mirza Alamgir, said that his party and its allies were still deliberating whether to participate.
He said the BNP had asked the commission to defer the vote, but that its wishes had not been met.
“There is no reflection of public wishes and expectations in the schedule and it is moving toward a unilateral election,” he said.
The BNP, which is in disarray following the jailing of its chief, former Prime Minister, Khaleda Zia, on corruption charges, had also pressed for a caretaker government at the 2014 election and boycotted it after the demand was not met.
Hasina and Khaleda, who between them have ruled Bangladesh for decades, are bitter rivals and the BNP says its leader has been jailed on trumped-up charges to keep her out of politics.
Separately, certain civil society groups and activists have also criticised the country’s new Digital Security Act, and a new broadcast law that is under consideration, warning these regulations would erode free speech in the country ahead of the election.

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