1st phase of Bangladesh municipal polls on Monday

Dhaka, Dec 27 (IANS): Residents in 24 municipalities across Bangladesh will go to the polls on Monday to cast their ballots in the first phase of the country's municipal elections amid coronavirus pandemic.

Ballots will be cast using electronic voting machines (EVM) from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., bdnews24 reported.

The elections, which will be mainly contested by candidates from the ruling Awami League and the the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has been relatively subdued this time due to the pandemic.

Executive and judicial magistrates along with the members of various law enforcement agencies, including Border Guards Bangladesh (BGB), Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), police and the Ansar paramilitary auxiliary force, are monitoring the elections.

Candidates from Awami League, BNP, Jatiya Party, Islami Andolan Bangladesh and Jatiya Ganatantrik Party are vying for the post of mayor in the 24 municipal areas.

Independent candidates are also taking part in the election.

"All kinds of preparations have been taken for the polls. The environment and situation in the voting areas are good. Law-enforcement agencies are working on the ground. No complaints have been registered. All arrangements have been made for voting using EVMs," bdnews24 quoted Ashok Kumar Debnath, additional secretary to the Election Commission, as saying on Sunday.

More than 1,000 candidates are contesting for the posts of mayor and councillor in the first phase.

The second phase of voting will take place on January 16 in 61 municipalities.

The third phase will be held on January 30 in 64 municipalities.

Municipalities that become eligible for polls by February will witness a fourth round of voting.

There are a total of 329 municipalities in the country.

The law requires the local government body to conduct polls within 90 days before the end of a term.


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