EC preparing for Rangpur city polls
The Election Commission has started taking preparations to complete the second election to Rangpur City Corporation by December this year.
Under the incumbent commission, headed by KM Nurul Huda, it would be the second major election after the Comilla City Corporation polls held in March.
"After taking a decision at the commission's meeting, the election schedule is likely to be announced in November," EC acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told the news agency.
The five-year tenure of Rangpur city mayor will expire on February 14 next year. But the commission will complete the polls by December ahead of a public examination in early 2018.
The maiden election to Rangpur City Corporation was held on December 20, 2012. Pro-Awami League candidate Sharfuddin Ahmed Jhantu was elected mayor, defeating Jatiya Party-backed candidate.
Jhantu won the election securing 1,06,255 votes, while his nearest rival Jatiya Party leader Mostafizur Rahman polled 77,805 votes.
There is a legal obligation for the EC to complete the election to any city corporation within 180 days before the expiry of the tenure that starts with the first meeting of the elected representatives.
Besides, the EC has also a plan to arrange elections to five other city corporations -- Rajshahi, Khulna, Sylhet, Barisal and Gazipur -- by August 2018. About the five city corporations, the EC acting secretary said the elections to the five city corporations would be held in time before the expiry of the five-year tenures of the public representatives.
The Huda-commission formed in February will conduct the major elections to the six cities before the 11th parliamentary elections likely to be held in late December 2018.
This commission wants to arrange the major city elections in fair and neutral manner for gaining public trust before the next national election, EC officials said.
Taking part in the EC's ongoing dialogues, many civil society members, media persons, and political parties also suggested that the EC should achieve public confidence through its impartial activities and make its neutrality visible ahead of the general election.
The tenure of Gazipur city's mayor will expire on September 4, 2018; Sylhet's on September 8, 2018; Khulna's on September 25, 2018; Rajshahi's on October 5, 2018; and Barisal city's on October 23, 2018.
The election to four city corporations -- Rajshahi, Khulna, Barisal and Sylhet -- were held on June 15, 2013, and the maiden polls to Gazipur City Corporation on July 6, 2013.
In 2013, BNP-backed mayoral candidates were elected in five cities defeating pro-AL contestants.
Under the present commission, the Comilla City Corporation election was held on March 30.