Dhaka, Bangladesh
Election on Dec 23

CEC urges all parties: resolve differences, join polls

Election on Dec 23

Nomination by Nov 19, scrutiny 22, withdrawal 29

News Report Voting for elections to Bangladesh's 11th parliament will take place on December 23, the election commission declared Thursday, finally unheeding main opposition plea for a deferment. The ruling Awami League and its coalition and Grand Alliance allies welcomed the detailed schedule for the crucial polls, while opposition BNP termed it a 'one-sided' declaration at 'government's behest'. In rolling out the election blueprint through a televised speech Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda said the commission tried to take into account political dialogues over the electoral issues and urged the parties to iron out remaining differences and all join the polls. One of the main concerns of the political parties and alliances which held poll dialogues with the prime minister, including the BNP-dominated Jatiya Oikya Front, was 'level playing field' for all in the electoral race. The CEC in his evening speech said a circular will be issued soon with provisos guaranteeing the much-sought-after plain ground. In another major declaration on the election-commission decision the commission chief said army will be deployed 'in aid to civil administration' in maintaining an ambiance congenial to free and fair election. The opposition parties which had boycotted the last polls for failing to make the government concede to their demand for election under a neutral interim government renewed this main one of their demands and sought army deployment with magistracy power to mete out spot justice to transgressors. In his nationwide speech the CEC assured equal opportunities for all in the race and also said law-enforcing agencies are under order to thwart intimidation, filing 'false' cases and harassment of politicos. He also pronounced the election commission's resolve that any failure on part of the officials concerned will earn the stern punishment. As per pre-announced decision, the EC will make limited use of the much-debated electronic voting machine or EVM. And there is a maiden provision for online filing of nomination by candidates.

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