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EC secretary: Ordinance to be issued on EVM use if not placed in Parliament

  • Published at 09:41 am October 25th, 2018
Election Commission Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed
File photo of Election Commission Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed UNB

He says the election will be held in December

The Election Commission (EC) is determined to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) for the upcoming 11th parliamentary election.

“If the amendment to the Representation of the People Order (RPO) for the use of EVMs in the general election is not placed in Parliament, we will get the approval through an ordinance to be issued by the president,” EC Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told reporters on Thursday. 

On August 30, the commission approved RPO amendments to use EVMs in the election. It sent the proposals about the amendment to the law ministry for vetting.

The proposals about RPO amendments will be placed in the Cabinet. From there, they will be sent to Parliament. 

However, since the last session of the current parliament is going to end on Thursday there is no chance of the bill passing. 

In that case after Cabinet approval, the proposed bill will be sent to the president. The president will then issue an ordinance.  

Since their introduction in 2010, EVMs have thus far been used in different local government elections only.

Ruling Awami League is in favour of using EVMs for the national polls, by amending the RPO. However, BNP and left-leaning political parties have always opposed the idea, expressing concern that the machines could be used to rig the election.

EC Secretary Helaluddin said the election will be held in December but some newspapers are misleading people. 

“This is not right,” Helaluddin said.

He added that he hoped the RPO would be placed in the current parliament. “There is a possibility that the RPO will be passed in parliament, as the parliament will continue till October 29.”

“We have a target to hold the national polls by the end of December. The president has asked us to meet with him on November 1. The decision on the RPO will be taken after the meeting with President Abdul Hamid,” the EC secretary said.

According to Helaluddin, all election commissioners, including CEC KM Nurul Huda, will attend the meeting with the president. “The meeting cannot be held sooner as an election commissioner is out of the country.

The election schedule will be announced after the meeting, he added.

He further said that EVMs are very easy to use, and a voter can use his or her NID card number and fingerprint to use the machine if they do not have a smart card.

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