One-fifth of the chairman candidates in the last three phases of the upazila parishad elections have been elected unopposed, show Election Commission data.
A total of 69 aspirants in 323 upazilas were elected uncontested in the staggered polls that began on March 10. All of them are from the ruling Awami League, according to the EC.
Another 39 chairman contestants are set to be elected unopposed in the fourth phase of the election in 127 upazilas on March 31, EC Joint Secretary Farhad Ahmmad Khan told this correspondent yesterday.
Of the 492 upazilas in the country, 480 are going to polls this time in five phases.
The EC is yet to announce the schedule for the fifth phase. Officials say they plan to hold the last phase of the polls on June 18 after the HSC examinations and the Eid-ul-Fitr.
The BNP; the Left Democratic Alliance, a combine of eight left-leaning parties; Islami Andolan Bangladesh; Bangladesh Khelafat Andolan and Bangladesh Muslim League boycotted the polls, saying they did not see any prospect of a free and fair election.
This is the first time political parties have nominated candidates for the posts of chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman in upazila parishads.
EC officials said the number of uncontested winners in the posts of chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman will increase in the fourth phase of polls.
A total of 88 candidates for the posts of chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman are likely to be elected uncontested in the fourth phase. Of them, 39 are chairman candidates, 22 vice-chairman contestants and 27 female vice-chairman aspirants.
Almost all of them are AL contenders, said EC officials.
Fifty-five candidates for the positions of chairman, vice-chairman and female vice-chairman were elected unopposed in the third phase. The number was 48 in the second phase and 28 in the first phase.
In all three phases, voters appeared to be uninterested in casting ballots with the overall turnout hitting the lowest since 2009.
In the 2009 upazila polls, the voter turnout was 70.57 percent, which fell to 61.23 percent in 2014. It dropped further to 43.31 percent in the first phase of this election and 41.25 percent in the second phase. The turnout stood at 41.41 percent in the third phase.
In the last three phases of the polls, at least 27 upazilas saw less than 30 percent voter turnout while it was below 10 percent in two upazilas.
According to the Upazila Parishad Act 2009, the mayors of municipalities, chairmen of union parishads, and holders of seats reserved for women in municipalities and union parishads automatically become members of an upazila parishad.