Bangladesh election holds today

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  1. Raquib
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    Raquib SENIOR MEMBER

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    Bangladesh set for 'vote of hope'
    Mon, Dec 29th, 2008 12:16 pm BdST


    Dhaka, Dec 29 (bdnews24.com) – In hope and expectancy, along city streets and in country towns blanketed by posters and bunting, Bangladeshis go to vote on Monday in what looks to be the most open democratic election the nation has ever known.

    A record number of over eight crore voters will head to the polls for the first time in seven years for a return to democracy after almost two years of emergency rule.

    Elections will be held in 299 parliamentary seats except Noakhali-1, which will be polled on Jan. 12, deferred the death of the Awami League-led alliance candidate.

    Thirty-nine registered parties are taking part in the ninth edition of the national ballot, with Awami League contesting from 263 seats, BNP from 259 seats, Jatiya Party from 48 seats and Jamaat-e-Islami from 39 seats.

    Security forces, and local and foreign election observers have fanned out across the country, with all stakeholders hoping that the results will be accepted without a recurrence of the turmoil and violence that have often marred politics.

    The interim administration forestalled a general election planned for Jan. 22, 2007 after violence raged across the nation largely between supporters of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

    Like the promise of 'change' in presidential elections in the US last month, here in Bangladesh, all political parties have pledged changes in some form or the other.

    For 299 parliament seats, 1,555 people will be fighting it out and, of them, 1407 are political and 148 are individual candidates, according to the Election Commission.

    Of the candidates, 60 are women, the highest in the history of parliament elections in Bangladesh, and 1495 are men.

    Though women still lag behind in mainstream politics, for the first time since independence, women voters are in the majority.

    Of the total of 8,10,58,698 voters, 4,12,36,149 are women.

    This time, the total number of voting centres and voting booths are 35,263 and 1,77,277 respectively. Each centre has an average of 2,299 voters, said Mihir Sarwar Morshed, the deputy secretary of the EC secretariat.

    The voting will be conducted by 35,263 presiding officers, 1,77,277 assistant presiding officers and 3,54,554 polling officers.

    In addition, there are 64 returning officers for as many administrative districts and 475 assistant returning officers.


    Strict security

    Mihir Sarwar said 40,000 army personnel have been deployed countrywide to ensure a proper and peaceful ballot. With BDR, RAB, Police, Ansar and others, the number of law enforcers will exceed 600,000.

    "Categorising the voting centres in two sections, every general voting centre will have a 14-member law-enforcement team while the 'critical' ones will have an 18-strong security team," said Forhad Ahmed Khan, senior assistant secretary (election) at the EC secretariat.

    For hills, char, haor and island areas, the general and important voting centres have 15 and 16-member security teams respectively, he said.

    Outside the voting centres troops will be working as mobile 'striking force'.

    Change of tack

    In the last 20 months, the Election Commission has brought about several changes to the electoral laws and processes and tried them out in the four city corporation and nine municipal elections in August.

    On July 15, 2007, the EC unveiled an electoral roadmap, according to which election was to take place on Dec. 18. The crucial ballot was later shifted to Dec. 29.

    The electoral journey had its fair share of rough rides.

    BNP, the party that headed a coalition government for five years to Oct. 2006, gave several conditions and refused to go to polls unless those were fulfilled.

    It threw the possibilities of a credible, participatory election and a democratic government into uncertainty. But the EC and the government met some of the demands and talked the major political party into going to the vote.

    To ensure a free, fair ballot, the Representation of the People Order 1972, regulations and etiquette of political parties and candidates were amended and political parties registered.

    "We really have a changed system now and this has been supported by all," remarked M Sakhawat Hossain, an election commissioner.

    New ballot boxes, 'No' vote

    The 2008 parliamentary polls will see many firsts.

    Ballots would be dropped into translucent boxes and voters have IDs with photos.

    Voters will also get a chance to cast the 'no' vote in case they do not have a candidate of their choice.

    If any seat has more than 50 percent 'no' votes, then election for that seat will be cancelled and a re-election held.

    Electoral etiquette has seen a sea of changes: posters were not plastered on walls, lighting and illumination and motorcade rallies were banned.

    But posters were allowed to be hung.

    A new law stipulates that breach of electoral rules will result in maximum six months' prison sentence or a fine of Tk 50,000 or both. The EC has also been given powers to cancel candidacy through clause 91 (e) of the RPO.

    Based on the size of the electorate, the expenditure for election was fixed, with a candidate's maximum expenditure was set at Tk 5 per voter.

    To bring transparency to the election, the signatures of candidates' agents on result sheets and making photocopies have been made mandatory.

    The presiding officer, after declaring results, will take the result sheet signed by the agent and send it to the returning officer. One copy of the results will be mailed to the Election Commission.

    Previous eight elections

    Fourteen parties took part in the first parliament election held on March 7, 1973. A total of 1,203 candidates competed and 55 percent voters exercised their rights.

    Twenty-nine parties and 2,352 candidates went to the second parliamentary election on Feb. 18, 1979.

    Twenty-eight parties and 1,527 candidates took part in the third parliament election held on May 7, 1986.

    Nine parties and 1,120 candidates took part in the fourth general elections on March 3, 1988.

    Seventy-five parties and 3,855 candidates participated in the fifth election held on Feb. 27, 1991.

    Forty-two parties and 1,987 candidates took part in the highly controversial sixth parliamentary polls on Feb. 15, 1996.

    Eighty-one parties and 3093 candidates went to the vote in the seventh national election on June 12, 1996.

    Fifty-five parties and 2,563 candidates took part in the eighth general elections held on Oct. 1, 2001 election.

    bdnews24.com/mhc/tf/bd/2200hrs

    Bangladesh set for 'vote of hope' :: Election 2008 :: bdnews24.com ::
  2. Raquib
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    Raquib SENIOR MEMBER

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    Country sees peaceful polling, holiday mood
    Mon, Dec 29th, 2008 1:56 pm BdST


    Dhaka, Dec 29 (bdnews24.com) – A wintry morning turned sunny as voters across Bangladesh queued up in holiday mood from 8am Monday, hoping for a peaceful return to democracy after almost two years of emergency rule.

    As usual, Election Day has been a government holiday, with voters queuing up at polling centres from early morning, and later spilling out onto the streets that were pleasantly free of traffic.

    "Polling will continue up to 5pm, uninterrupted," Huda told bdnews24.com.

    The CEC in a televised speech on Sunday evening assured the nation of all necessary preparations for a free and fair election, inviting all to apply their voting rights without fear.

    "I'm inviting all voters, regardless of political differences, to go to polling centres taking the opportunity of the secure environment to cast their invaluable votes," the CEC said.

    This was Bangladesh's 9th parliamentary election since independence, and the first national vote in seven years.

    BNP chief and two-time former prime minister Khaleda Zia stepped down at the end of her five-year term on Oct. 28, 2006. Iajuddin Ahmed was sworn in next day as head of a caretaker government.

    But the Jan. 22, 2007 general election was postponed amid allegations by the Awami League and its allies that BNP had stacked the Election Commission with partisans and stuffed the voter rolls with 1.4 crore fake names.

    A state of emergency was imposed on Jan. 11, with certain fundamental rights suspended and a nighttime curfew imoposed. President Iajuddin Ahmed then resigned as the head of the caretaker government entrusted to run the polls.

    A military-installed interim government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed lifted the state of emergency on Dec. 17.

    *Noakhali-1 constituency will hold its poll on Jan. 12, deferred after the death of Awami League-led grand alliance candidate Nurul Islam.

    bdnews24.com/zr/rah/1035hrs
  3. Raquib
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    Raquib SENIOR MEMBER

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    I'd urge my Bangladeshi brothers to cast their valuable votes for the honest, educated and capable person thus the future of Bangladesh would not face the music as it did in the past...
  4. Raquib
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    Raquib SENIOR MEMBER

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    oops...im sorry iv composed the thread in the wrong section, Military Forum...
    MODs, could you please help me with this???
  5. Awesome
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    Awesome RETIRED

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    What are the options? Khalida and Hasina... Tried, tested and failed. You guys need new faces in politics just like us.
  6. leonblack08
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    leonblack08 SENIOR MEMBER

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    Agree with you.
  7. azmax007
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    azmax007 FULL MEMBER

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    But who? The next generation will rise up in 5-10 years or so. Hasina and Zia are getting old and so are their butt buddies below them.