Scheduled in November 2023 – Twelfth National Assembly Elections in December
The Election Commission (EC) has released its action plan for the 12th National Assembly elections. According to the roadmap, the schedule announcement in November 2023 and election time in December or first week of January 2024 has been decided by this constitutional body.
The roadmap was released on Wednesday (September 14) in a ceremony at the election building. EC Secretary Md. Humayun Kabir Khondkar presided over the event as chief guest, Election Commissioner Brigadier General (Retd.) Ahsan Habib Khan, Commissioner Rasheda Sultana, Md. Alamgir and Anichur Rahman and senior officials including EC Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath. Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal was not present due to illness. So Senior Election Commissioner Ahsan Habib Khan delivered the chief guest speech at the Roadmap release ceremony.
The action plan mentions 14 challenges on the road to elections and 19 ways to overcome them. Besides, in the case of using EVMs for a maximum of 150 seats in the upcoming national elections, it has been stated in the action plan of the EC that EVMs will be used only in metropolitan and district headquarters seats. Along with identifying these, action plans to tackle the challenges are outlined. Challenges include creating confidence of political parties in the government and the Election Commission, neutral performance of police and administration officials in the polling field, reluctance of election officials to perform neutral duties, taking action according to law if allegations of bias are proven, creating confidence of political parties in EVMs, finance and Controlling muscle power, maintaining law and order during elections, following electoral code of conduct by all parties, preventing fake votes, ensuring attendance of candidate agents and voters etc.
In the event, Election Commissioner Ahsan Habib Khan said that the purpose of preparing the action plan is only one – to conduct ‘free, fair, impartial, acceptable and participatory’ elections. EC faces many questions, lacks credibility. But as we have proved with our actions since taking charge, we have gone some way towards gaining trust from before. The election commissioner expressed hope that through this action plan, their ‘responsibility and responsibility to conscience’ will increase.
Elections Kashimner highlighted the obligation to vote between November 2023 and January 2024. Alamgir said that everyone’s opinion has been tried in this action plan. Subjects that are covered by us are kept. Alamgir said, we have tried to keep everyone’s opinion in this action plan. Subjects covered by us are kept. However, recommendations that conflict with the constitution were not kept. He said that the challenges of the roadmap will be met and implemented. There is still one year and four months left for the polls. Although many people are not confident about EC, they will be confident after seeing the work in the future.
Several political parties including BNP do not trust the EC, so how do you expect participatory elections? In response to such questions. Alamgir said, we have invited all the registered political parties to come to the polls, called for dialogue. Some parties including BNP did not come. In that case, if no party comes, the EC has nothing to do. However, our efforts will continue to bring BNP to the elections. In response to the question whether the army will be present in the elections, he said, if our regular law and order forces fail, then the army will be deployed in the elections. Why EVM in 150 seats out of 300 seats? In response to such questions. Alamgir said that voting by ballot is more risky than EVM is more reliable. He said, if the EC thinks that it will be difficult to vote in 12th national election in 300 constituencies in one day, then two-three phases of election may also be held. But whichever government is in place, i.e. under the government, the EC is determined to conduct fair and impartial elections.
Election Commissioner Rasheda Sultana said, we will proceed according to the plan. With everyone’s cooperation, I will be able to present a participatory and beautiful election. He also said that the EC will play an active role to ensure that the opposition is not harassed with false and politically motivated cases before the polls.
Election Commissioner Anichur Rahman said that the cooperation of all stakeholders is needed for a fair and impartial election. If this roadmap is implemented realistically and time-based, the desired goal can be reached.
The first session of the eleventh parliament began on 30 January 2019. Accordingly, the EC has a constitutional obligation to conclude the twelfth parliamentary elections between November 2023 and January 29, 2024.