Fifth phase of voting underway in 29 municipalities

The fifth phase of voting has begun in 29 municipalities across Bangladesh where nearly 1.4 million voters are looking to elect new representatives to the posts of mayor, councillor and reserved councillor.

The polls opened at 8 am Sunday and voting will continue until 4 pm without any interruptions. The votes are being cast using electronic voting machines.

The Election Commission has warned of ‘tough action' amid concerns over unrest.

Executive and judicial magistrates are on the ground along with members of law-enforcement agencies, including BGB, RAB, and police, to oversee the voting process.

“Preparations have been taken in order to hold the polls peacefully. We hope that the election will be held in a free, fair, participatory and festive atmosphere,” said Humayun Kabir Khandaker, secretary to the Election Commission.

The polls are being conducted in compliance with all the health and safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the EC.

Although several parties are taking part in the election, the main contest is set to be between the candidates of the ruling Awami League and the BNP.

As many as 100 candidates are vying for the post of mayor, 1,270 for general councillor and 342 for reserved councillor in this phase.

There are a total of 329 municipalities in Bangladesh. The Election Commission is holding elections in these municipalities in six phases this time due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The sixth phase of voting will take place on Apr 11 in nine municipalities.

MORE BY-ELECTIONS

EC public relations officials said by-elections will be held on Sunday at Shailkupa in Jhenaidah, Madhukhali in Faridpur, Paba in Rajshahi and Debidwar in Cumilla for the post of chairman.

Voting will also take place for the post of councillor in Chattogram city, general councillor in Jhenaidah's Shailkupa municipality, councillor in Swarupkathi municipality of Pirojpur and councillor in Sirajganj municipality.