EC’s draft election roadmap suggests dialogues with political parties

17 Apr 2017, 17:42 | updated: 17 Apr 2017, 21:56

NTV Online

The Election Commission Secretariat has drafted a roadmap for the 11th parliamentary election with a proposal for holding dialogues with political parties and other stakeholders to make it a participatory one.

A total of 22 major agenda were incorporated in the roadmap which will be implemented from July next targeting to arrange the next parliamentary polls in the last week of December 2018, EC officials said.

A committee, headed by EC Additional Secretary Md Mukhlesur Rahman, drafted the roadmap, which can be called as a work plan to take preparations for the next general election, reports UNB.

Now the draft roadmap is being reviewed and will be placed at a meeting of the Election Commission, headed by KM Nurul Huda soon, for its final approval.

The draft roadmap will propose the Election Commission to sit in dialogues more than once with political parties to make the next national election a participatory one, exchange views with law enforcement agencies, reform electoral laws, sit in talks with civil society members, media people, non-government organisations, election observers and foreign diplomats.

It will also propose keeping translucent ballot boxes as alternative to digital voting machines (DVM), issuance of public notification seeking application from new political parties to be registered with the Election Commission.

Other major proposals include taking opinions and suggestions from political parties over the appointment of election officials and identifying polling stations as well as preparing a voter list ahead of the next national election.

EC Secretary Muhammad Abdullah said the EC Secretariat will finalise the draft roadmap soon. ‘We’ll place the draft roadmap before the Election Commission soon, and they will take the final decision,’ he told UNB.

He said the election will have to be held by late December 2018 or early January 2019, as there is a constitutional obligation to arrange the polls within 90 days before the dissolution of parliament in case of the expiry of its term.

The five-year tenure of the present Awami League government will expire on January 11, 2019 as it was formed on January 12, 2014.

About dialogue, the EC Secretary said, ‘We’ll propose sitting in dialogues with stakeholders, including political parties, but it is ultimately the Commission that will take the final decision.’

As per the draft roadmap, the dialogues with political parties and other stakeholders will be held by July next, while electoral laws and rules will be amended and the re-demarcation of parliamentary constituencies will be completed from August to December this year. The process of registration of new political parties will be completed from November this year to March next year.

Besides, there will be a proposal for producing DVMs and making these usable by February 2018, creating public opinion and conducting a campaign in favour of the machines, and arranging mock voting through the DVMs 10 days before the parliamentary elections.

Apart from this, there will be a proposal for sitting in dialogues again with political parties 25 days before the announcement of election schedule, while with NGOs, media people and civil society members 35 days before the schedule to take their opinions and suggestions over the election dates and all other major issues relating to the elections.