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Friday, November 13, 2015, Kartik 29, 1422 BS, Muharram 30, 1437 Hijri

Poura polls may be deferred to Jan
Mahabub Alam
Published :Friday, 13 November, 2015,  Time : 12:00 AM  View Count : 18
The first-ever partisan basis municipal polls, due in December, may move to January, an Election Commission source said.
An official, requesting anonymity, blamed government's apathy to hold the elections next month for such anticipated deferment.
The government's dilly-dallying in this regard was evident in belated response to the EC's request to send a list of the municipalities congenial to elections, another EC official pointed out. "It's good to hold the polls in December, with the existing voters," he said.
Holding the elections in January may create fresh complexity with those who would be voters from the first month of 2016 because they may demand to cast their maiden ballots in the elections.
If the fresh voters want to franchise their rights, EC will have no option but to respond, which means the commission would seek more time to hold the polls.
On October 12, the Cabinet approved in principle for holding the municipal polls on partisan basis, but 22 days were required for promulgating a fresh ordinance.
On issuance of the ordinance, the EC sent the election code of conduct and the operation regulations to the Law Ministry for vetting but the vetting is yet to be given.
  The ministry in a meeting on Tuesday brought about some changes in those. It particularly disagreed with the EC's decision to allow campaigning by Ministers and MPs during the polls.
Sources said that the vetting might come next week. After arrival, the code of conduct and the regulations will have to be sent to the ministry again for memo numbers after scrutiny by the EC, which later will be published as gazettes.
 On condition of anonymity, an official of the EC said that they would need some time to get prepared to declare the polling schedule.
The EC has already initiated to publish CDs of voter lists and sent letters to its officials concerned in this regard.
Apart from this, it sent letters to Education and Primary and Mass Education Ministries to make the selected voting centres ready.
The officer further said the EC intends to conclude the elections in 242 municipalities by this year.
"Rules make it mandatory for the EC to publish a gazette on polling centres 25 days before the polling day. So, the work of the ministry in this connection should be completed soon," he suggested.
When contacted, EC Secretary Mohammad Sirajul Islam told the Daily Observer: "EC did not get the vetted code of conducts and operation regulations till Thursday night."
But he expects to get those next week, which will help hold the polls within this year.

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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