EC may appeal to president for more time to hold pending polls: CEC Huda

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2020-05-21 14:43:05 BdST


The Election Commission may not be able to arrange the polls to the vacant parliamentary seats and Chattogram City Corporation within the constitutional time limit amid the coronavirus crisis, believes Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda.

The commission may have to appeal to President Abdul Hamid to raise the matter with the Supreme Court for an exception, he said on Wednesday after the launch of an online training programme on NID services and card management system.

The Chattogram City Corporation election along with the by-elections to Bogura-1 and Jashore-6 was set to go ahead in March but were later postponed until April.

The commission also had to contend with the 90-day deadline to hold the elections to two more seats - Pabna-4 and Dhaka-5 - which fell vacant after the deaths of its incumbents Shamsur Rahman Sharif Dilu on Apr 2 and Habibur Rahman Mollah on May 6, respectively.

Section 123 of the Constitution states that an election to fill the seat of a member of parliament which falls vacant for any reason other than the dissolution of parliament must be held within 90 days of the vacancy.

Nevertheless, the constitution and election law do allow the chief election commissioner an additional 90 days to arrange polls if the delays are caused due to a natural disaster.

“We can decide on the issue when the office reopens after the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays. The constitution allows the chief election commissioner to appeal to the Supreme Court for another extension through the president,” said the CEC.

“We’ll resume plans to arrange the scheduled local government elections from where we left off earlier. We have the authority to do that,” said the CEC.

Election Commissioner Mahbub Talukdar, Md Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam, Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury and Senior Secretary Md Alamgir took part in the online meeting.