5th-Phase UZ Polls: Turnout lowest in 10 years | Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 20, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:08 AM, June 20, 2019

5th-Phase UZ Polls: Turnout lowest in 10 years

Shows EC data; only 38pc voted this time

The fifth phase of the upazila elections cast 38.62 percent ballots, making this year’s polls the lowest participated in the last 10 years.

According to the Election Commission, at least 42 upazila saw less than 30 percent voter turnout while two of those witnessed below 10 percent voter turnout in all five phases of this year’s upazila polls.

On Tuesday, the last and the fifth phase of the elections were held in 20 upazilas.

The first phase of the election was held on March 10, second phase on March 18, third phase on March 24 and fourth phase on March 31.

The voter turnouts in the first four phases were 43.31 percent, 41.25 percent, 41.41 percent and 36.50 percent respectively.

The upazila elections held in 2009 had 70.57 percent voter turnout while in 2014 it fell down to 61.23 percent.

Election Commissioner Rafiqul Islam attributed the low voter enthusiasm to the absence of some registered political parties in the polls.

“The elections became less competitive and participation of voters went down than that of previous elections,” he said.

EC Deputy Secretary Atiar Rahman said that elections in 480 upazilas out of 492 took place in five phases.

“Rest of the elections will be held later as these were not held due to cases and non-maturity of tenure,” he said.

Atiar said that EC had a plan to hold elections of nine upazilas in October.

For the first time in history, the political parties nominated candidates for the posts of chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman in upazila parishads.

The BNP; left democratic alliance, a combine of eight left-leaning parties; Islami Andolan Bangladesh; Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan; and Bangladesh Muslim League boycotted the elections, saying that they did not see any prospect of free and fair polls.

The results also shows that 115 chairman candidates had been elected unopposed in the upazila polls.

Of them, 114 are from the ruling Awami League while the other is an independent, according to the data provided by the EC sources.

According to the EC, no elections were needed in 33 upazilas as all three candidates of the upazilas -- chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman -- were elected unopposed.

The EC compiled the results of 475 upazilas until 2:00pm yesterday. Of them, Awami League candidates won in 321 upazilas, independent candidates in 150 upazilas, Jatiya Party in three upazilas and Jatiya Party Japa in one upazila.

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