Staggered Upazila council elections to start on May 8

152 Upazilas will go to polls in the first phase

Published : 21 March 2024, 08:46 AM
Updated : 21 March 2024, 08:46 AM

The staggered Upazila council elections are set to begin on May 8 with 152 local government units going to the polls in the first phase.

The Election Commission finalised the schedule on Thursday, a day after increasing the security deposit for election aspirants and easing the procedure for independent candidates.

The watchdog decided to organise the sixth Upazila council polls in a total of four phases - with the second and third ones on May 29 and the finale on June 5.

The polls will be held to elect chairperson, vice-chairperson and female vice-chairperson in the sub-districts.

The deadline for nomination submission is Apr 15 while the aspirants will be able to withdraw within Apr 22 after scrutiny on Apr 17 in the first phase, EC Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath said.

Among 152 Upazilas electing representatives in the first phase, balloting will be held through electronic voting machines in 22 while ballot papers will be used in the rest.

Even though there is a provision to run for chairperson with the party symbol, the ruling Awami League is not nominating anyone or allowing candidates to use the party symbol in Upazila polls. In that case, the party faithfuls will have to run as independent candidates.

The commission has already eased the procedure for independent candidates as they are no longer required to submit signatures of 250 voters with their nomination papers.

The candidates are also allowed to use colour posters alongside traditional black and white ones.

The commission also extended the time for election campaigns and increased the sum of security deposit for the chairperson and vice-chairperson.

The security money for a chairman aspirant has been increased to Tk 100,000 from Tk 10,000. The amount has been raised to Tk 75,000 from Tk 5,000 for a vice-chairperson aspirant.

Currently, there are 492 Upazilas in Bangladesh. The Upazila council elections were held on a single day in 1990 and 2009 after the local government body was formed in 1985 by the military ruler HM Ershad.

The commission organised the fourth Upazila council elections in six phases in 2014 and the fifth one in five phases in 2019.