EC to meet candidates
The Election Commission (EC) will have a meeting with candidates in the Chittagong City Corporation (CCC) polls to improve further the atmosphere for the June 17 battle of ballots.
The EC has decided to hold the meeting to encourage candidates to abide by the electoral code of conduct in electioneering, Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Sakhawat Hussain said yesterday.
The meeting is likely to be held on June 6 at Chittagong, said Sakhawat, who will attend it.
“We will hear views of candidates and ask them to follow electoral code of conduct in carrying out campaign,” he told The Daily Star yesterday.
Strict electoral code of conduct has already brought changes in the traditional culture of electioneering.
This time the atmosphere during filing of applications seeking candidacy with the returning officer was different than in the past as none was allowed to hold rallies or bring out processions.
The code of conduct will not even allow any contestant to hold rallies during the electoral campaign period.
The EC has also planned to reform recruitment of polling agents of candidates. Polling agents now must be voters of the areas concerned and they will have to carry their national identity cards with them.
Candidates will provide the polling agents with armband. No polling agent can leave polling stations without informing the presiding officers or other election officials the reason for this.
If they fail to do so, their allegations of being forced by opponents to leave the polling centres will not be taken into consideration after the polls, according to the EC decision.
“We want to change the culture of rejection of polls result by defeated candidates,” Sakhawat said.
He also said he will hold a meeting with officials of law enforcement agencies during his visit to Chittagong. The meeting might be held on June 5.
The EC will organise an electoral debate of mayoral contenders, and it will be telecast.
Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda and Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussein will also visit Chittagong separately.
Meanwhile, the returning officer (RO) rejected four applications seeking candidacy for mayoral post on the first day of scrutiny of the applications yesterday, reports our staff correspondent in Chittagong.
Applications submitted by AAM Haider Ali, Wahed Asgar Chowdhury, MA Salam and Yakub Hossain were rejected for different reasons, including loan default and failure to submit all necessary documents.
The RO also withheld applications of Kamal Uddin Chowdhury and Saifuddin Ahmed Robi for different reasons.
Scrutiny of applications seeking candidacy for mayoral post and reserved seats for women was completed yesterday.
Eighteen people have sought candidacy for mayoral post, 322 people for 41 posts of councillor in the same number of wards and 67 for 14 reserved seats for women.