EC’s dialogue with political parties likely from 24 Aug

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The Election Commission (EC) is planning to initiate dialogue with 40 registered political parties from 24 August to know their opinions over the arrangement of the 11th parliamentary elections.

“The dialogue with political parties will begin in the last week of the current month. The EC will sit with six political parties — two parties each day — before Eid-ul-Azha,” EC acting Secretary Muhammad Helaluddin Ahmed told reporters at his Nirbachon Bhaban office in Dhaka on Sunday.

However, the discussions with the two major parties — Awami League and BNP — will be held at the end of September or early October as the EC is going to invite the political parties from the bottom of the registration list.

The registration number of Awami League is 6 while that of BNP 7 and HM Ershad-led Jatiya Party stands at 12.

The Commission will sit with two political parties in a day with the first sitting from 11am to 1pm and from 3pm to 5pm respectively.

Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF) and Bangladesh Sanskritik Muktijot (Muktijot) will be invited to join the dialogue on the first day.

Ten representatives from each political party will be allowed to join the talks.

According to their current decision, Helaluddin Ahmed said, each of the parties will be allowed to join the dialogue with 10 representatives.

“The number of representatives of the political parties for participating in talks may be increased further,” he added.

After the eid, he said, the EC will resume talks with the other political parties on September 10.

Before the dialogues with the political parties, the Commission decided to sit in talks with media persons from the print and electronic media on 16-17 August, the EC acting secretary added.

An EC official, wishing anonymity, said the EC is preparing to begin the dialogue with the political parties on 24 August.

He also said senior journalists from newspapers, news agencies and online media will be invited to the talks on 16 August while those from electronic media on the next day.

As part of the roadmap prepared by it, the EC sat with civil society members on 31 July, commencing it’s around two-month-long talks with different stakeholders about the next general elections.

Later, the Commission will sit in talks with election observers, women leaders and election experts.

In the dialogue, the Commission will seek opinions from the stakeholders over different issues, including electoral law reforms and delimitation of constituencies, updating voter list, fixation of polling stations and awarding registration to new political parties.

Earlier in 2011, the EC-led by Dr ATM Shamsul Huda hold dialogues with the registered political parties to take their opinions over a number of issues, including electoral law reforms, delimitation of constituencies, enacting new law for appointment of CEC and election commissioners and the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs).

But BNP and its like-minded political parties boycotted the dialogue alleging that the Commission was biased.

However, the previous Commission, headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, did not sit in any dialogue with the political parties.

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