The Election Commission, led by Kazi Habibul Awal, has provided an update to President Md Shahabuddin about the preparations for the upcoming 12th national polls at the Bangabhaban.
Election commissioners Ahsan Habib Khan, Rasheda Sultana, Md Alamgir and Md Anisur Rahman accompanied Awal to the presidential palace on Thursday.
The meeting between the head of state and the EC holds great constitutional significance as it typically occurs before the official announcement of the election schedule.
“We will announce a schedule soon because it is time,” CEC Awal said after the meeting.
“Regarding the election, we said it will be held in either the first or second week, and that remains our position. We will update you as soon as we have finalised our plans.”
President Shahabuddin emphasised the significance of elections as a tool for reflecting public opinion in a democratic society.
Stressing the necessity for a sustainable democratic process to ensure the country's development, he acknowledged that the EC alone cannot conduct a fair election.
Coordination with executive bodies and public engagement is essential for a functioning democracy and the president called on political parties to actively contribute to these efforts.
Expressing optimism, Shahabuddin hoped for the government's support to the EC in successfully conducting the 12th general elections.
He urged the commission to adhere to constitutional policies, act responsibly, and demonstrate courage to facilitate a fair and participatory election.
The lead-up to the election has been marred by disputes over the electoral process, resulting in violent clashes and deaths during the BNP and like-minded groups' strike and blockade programmes.
The opposition groups have also announced their intention to boycott the polls unless their demand for a caretaker government during the election is met.
However, the Election Commission has maintained that fulfilling this demand falls beyond its jurisdiction, as its constitutional responsibility is to conduct elections.
The current constitutional framework lacks a clear provision for an election-time government. In practice, elections are conducted under the administration of the ruling government.
Although Parliament does not need to be dissolved before the election, the legislature ceases its usual activities once the 90-day countdown to the polls begins.
As the first session of the 11th Parliament convened on Jan 30, 2019, the 90-day countdown for the elections began on Nov 1, with the obligation to hold the vote by Jan 29.
The EC has announced plans to hold the polls in the first week of January, though it was later suggested that the vote might be scheduled for the end of December.
The final date will be determined following the announcement of the schedule. There are indications that the schedule may be unveiled in the second week of this month.