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No new dialogue possible with BNP or any other party: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal on Thursday said that there is no opportunity for a new dialogue with BNP or any other political party regarding next parliamentary elections expected to be held in January, 2024.

He was speaking to the reporters after exchanging views with the government officials at the Deputy Commissioner’s office in Patuakhali.

He said, “BNP has been repeatedly requested to participate in the upcoming elections. But they always rejected our request.”

BNP is adamant in demanding a non-partisan caretaker government and restructuring of the Election Commission, he added.

“In this case, there is no chance of a new dialogue with BNP or any other political party regarding the upcoming national parliamentary elections,” he said.

Besides, by-elections to the five vacant parliamentary seats of the BNP MPs will be held with EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines), he said.

However, the EC currently does not have necessary fund for installing CCTV cameras in polling centres in these by-elections, the CEC added.

At present, the Election Commission has the capacity of holding elections with EVMs in 50 to 60 seats. Financial allocation has been sought from the government to purchase more EVMs, he said.

Following the allocation, the commission is planning to buy new machines and hold elections with EVMs in 150 seats in the next parliamentary elections, he added.

The CEC said some EVMs have been out of service due to lack of proper maintenance. A project has been submitted to the government for their proper conservation of EVMs, and the project proposal is now with the Planning Commission.

“If the project is approved, it will be possible to properly maintain the EVMs. This will save the country’s money,” said the CEC.