12:00 AM, December 30, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 08:21 AM, December 30, 2018

All measures taken to keep voters safe

EC tells visiting foreign polls observers, journos

The Election Commission yesterday said the authorities concerned have taken all necessary measures to ensure the security of voters by appointing a sufficient number of polling officials, judicial and executive magistrates and law enforcers.

The number of voters expected to cast their votes for today's polls is 10.42 crore.

“All necessary efforts have been taken so that voters can safely exercise their voting rights and safely go back home,” said EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed, adding, “Voters are going to give their mandate tomorrow [today].”

While briefing foreign election observers and journalists, who came to Bangladesh to cover the polls, he said there were still a few stray incidents that had taken place in some areas, but there were no serious violations of the code of conduct or any serious electoral offence.

However, he said these small casualties could not affect the election. “The overall situation is still friendly for election.”

He claimed that the European Union “expressed their satisfaction over the election atmosphere and thus, they did not send observers”.

Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque, who was present at the briefing, replied to some queries of the observers.

Urging the foreign observers to follow the guidelines prepared for them, Helal said election observers can be regarded as judges and that observation is a vital part of fostering democracy around the world.

He told the observers and journalists that for the first time all the 39 registered political parties are participating in the election and the number of candidates -- 1,861, including 128 independent ones -- has also exceeded all previous records.

To conduct the election, he said the EC appointed returning officers (ROs), who are the chief electoral officers in their respective constituencies. The ROs will be given assistance by sufficient officers. Presiding officers will be conducting voting events in polling stations.

The EC has also appointed a sufficient number of magistrates, both executive and judicial, and deployed a sufficient number of different law enforcement agency members, including from the army, navy and air forces.

The EC Secretary said that 64 deputy commissioners and two divisional commissioners have been appointed as ROs and the number of assistant ROs is 582. The number of presiding officers is 40,183, assistant presiding officers 207,312 and polling officers 414,624.

He said the EC has deployed a total of 1,328 executive magistrates. Of them, 652 for trials of code of conduct violations and 676 will be working with law enforcement agencies.

Apart from that, the EC has deployed 244 judicial magistrates for 122 electoral inquiry committees, each consisting two judicial magistrates. 

Helal further informed observers and journalists that the total number of law enforcers deployed for election duties is 608,000.

The break up is: Police - 121,000, Ansars - 446,000 and Village Police - 41,000, Army - 414 platoons, Navy - 48 platoons, Coast Guard - 42 platoons, BGB - 983 platoons, RAB - 600 platoons and mobile and striking force - 2000 platoons. Each platoon has 30 law enforcers.

Ballot papers, voters list, ballot boxes, EVMs (in six constituencies) and all other election materials have been sent to the ROs in polling stations by yesterday evening.

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