The Election Commission (EC) is considering whether to extend the deadline for submission of nomination papers for the ninth parliamentary election by a few days.
Commission officials said the date might be deferred by three to five days and that the dates for withdrawal of nomination papers and scrutiny would also be changed in that case.
However, there would be no change in the election date slated for December 18, they said.
The EC announced the detailed poll schedule on November 2, setting November 13 as the last date for submission of nomination papers. But several political parties including the BNP have since demanded the deferment.
“There may be changes in the schedule since all political parties are demanding them,” Election Commissioner M Sakhawat Hussain told The Daily Star last night.
He said the EC would sit today to discuss the matter and take a decision.
An EC official said the commission should extend the deadline for nomination paper submission if that brings all parties to the poll battle.
When contacted last night, Awami League Presidium member Suranjit Sengupta said they had no objection to readjusting the present poll schedule if the polling date remains unchanged. “This is also our demand,” he added.
The BNP and its allies have been very vocal about re-fixing the poll schedule, saying they would not take part in the December 18 election if their demands that include fresh poll schedule are met.
At a public meeting in Chittagong on Friday BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia also announced that her party would take part in the election but the government must fulfil their demands.
Bangladesh Kalyan Party, Progressive Democratic Party and Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal also yesterday demanded deferment of the nomination paper submission date by at least five days.
Asked about Khaleda’s seven-point demand, Education and Commerce Adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman yesterday said all problems arising out of BNP’s recent demands, including the one for fresh poll schedule, could be resolved through discussion.
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