Zila Parishad election today
28 December 2016, Nirapad News: Voting in the maiden election to 59 Zila Parishads (district councils) across the country began on Wednesday morning in a non-partisan manner unlike the polls to other local government bodies.
The balloting began at 9am and will continue till 2pm without any break in 836 polling stations across the country, except five districts—Feni, Bhola, Rangamati, Khagrachhari and Bandarban, reports news agency UNB.
As all the 42 posts in Feni and Bhola districts went uncontested finding single candidates against each post, the balloting is not required there.
Some 61,000 voters, including over 14,000 women, who are elected representatives of other local bodies, will be allowed to cast votes in the district and upazila-based polling stations in 59 districts.
As BNP and Jatiya Party did not join the local elections, the main fight will be held between ruling Awami League-supported candidates and its rebel contenders.
In 59 district councils, 3,896 candidates are in the election race against 1,239 posts, said Director (PR) of Election Commission Secretariat SM Asaduzzaman on Tuesday.
However, 22 out of 61 chairman posts have already gone uncontested finding single candidate against each post in 22 districts, including Feni, Bhola and Kusthia. But the EC postponed the chairman post election in Kushtia following the court’s order.
Now, 124 chairman candidates are running in the remaining 39 district councils.
Besides, 164 council posts and 68 reserved seats exclusively for women have gone uncontested.
Election Commissioner Shah Nawaz said the Election Commission has completed all necessary preparations to arrange the Zila Parishad election in a fair manner.
The EC on Tuesday sent a letter to the Speaker urging for taking necessary measures so that MPs comply with the election code of conduct, he told reporters at his EC Secretariat office.
An executive magistrate will be deployed in each polling station to punish election irregularities.
Besides, some 23,000 members of law enforcement agencies, including police, Rab, BGB, Coast Guard and Ansar, will maintain the law and order to ensure congenial atmosphere in election areas. A 20-member security team will guard each polling station.
The Election Commission imposed restrictions on carrying mobile phone inside the polling station as well putting any sign or mark on the ballot papers.
If any voter puts any sign or mark on the ballot paper, the ballot will be cancelled.
Deputy commissioners are acting as the returning officers of the district council elections, while district election officers as assistant returning officers.
In each district council, all the elected representatives—mayor/chairman, councillors/members and vice chairmen—of the city corporations, upazila parishad, pourasavas and union parishads under the district will elect a 21-member body for the district council.
The 21-member body will be comprised of a chairman, 15 general members and five women members from reserved seats.
On 20 November, the EC announced the election schedule for the 61 district councils in 61 districts.