EC unveils roadmap for general election, EVMs in 150 seats

Electronic voting machines will be limited to metropolitan areas and district towns, while polling booths will be equipped with CCTV cameras

Senior Correspondent
Published : 14 Sept 2022, 08:47 AM
Updated : 14 Sept 2022, 08:47 AM

The Election Commission underlined its commitment to gaining the confidence of all political parties in order to conduct credible and participatory polls as it unveiled the roadmap for the 12th national election.

Despite facing questions and political scrutiny on various issues, the regulator has managed to build some trust in the last six months, said Election Commissioner Ahsan Habib Khan while presenting the roadmap on Wednesday.

Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal could not attend the event due to illness.

The purpose of the action plan, according to Khan, is singular - to ensure free, fair, neutral, acceptable and participatory elections.

"We are facing a lot of questions and there seems to be a lack of confidence in the commission. Through our actions, we have gone some way towards gaining trust.”

A timeline for the implementation of goals set out in the roadmap:

  • Law reform: August 2022 to February 2023

  • Dialogue: 2022 March to 2022 December

  • Demarcation of constituencies: January 2023 to June 2023.

  • Implementation of technology: August 2022 to August 2023.

  • Registration of political parties: September 2022 to June 2023

  • Electoral roll update: process underway from May 2022; final list to be published in March 2023

  • Selection of polling stations: June 2022 to August 2023

  • Training: January 2023 onwards

  • Registration of observers: January 2023 to August 2023

The action plan will also serve to keep the commission accountable, he added.

"We'll move forward in accordance with the plan. We'll be able to conduct a pleasant and participatory election with everyone's cooperation," said Election Commissioner Rashida Sultana Emily.

The timely implementation of the roadmap will go a long way to achieving the goal of an all-inclusive election, according to Election Commissioner Anisur Rahman.

Highlighting the EC's constitutional obligation to hold the vote between November 2023 and January 2024, Alamgir said: "We have tried to take everyone's opinion into account in this action plan. We have kept matters that are within our powers and discarded recommendations that were inconsistent with the constitution."

The EC is hopeful of meeting the challenges presented by the roadmap by taking necessary steps to implement its goals.

Noting that the national election is still more than a year away, Alamgir believes the EC will win over the doubters with their activities in the coming months.

The commission also confirmed that electronic voting machines, or EVMs, will be used in 150 metropolitan areas and district towns out of the 300 constituencies in the parliamentary elections. CCTV cameras will also be installed in polling booths.

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