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President asks EC to consider enrolling expatriates as voters

  • Published at 11:00 pm March 1st, 2019
President M Abdul Hamid_PID
President M Abdul Hamid addresses an event at the Election Commission at Agargaon in Dhaka on Friday, March 1, 2019 PID

National Voters’ Day observed for the first time

President M Abdul Hamid has asked the Election Commission to consider enlisting Bangladeshi expatriates in the voter list so they can cast their votes in any election.

“Consider voting rights of the expatriate Bangladeshis. Take necessary steps so that they can get national identity (NID) cards,” the president said while addressing an event at the Election Commission auditorium at Agargaon on the occasion of “National Voters’ Day” on Friday.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda, Election Commissioners Mahbub Talukder, Md Rafiqul Islam, Kabita Khanam and Brig Gen (Retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, Secretary Helaluddin Ahmed and secretaries concerned to the president were present at the program, among others.

Noting that about one crore people are working abroad and most of them have no NID cards, he said having NID cards would help the expatriates get different state facilities, including citizenships in foreign countries.

“The question of voting rights for Bangladeshis, now staying abroad, is getting vigorous. Expatriate citizens of 120 countries, including US, Indonesia and Philippines, are exercising their voting rights,” the president mentioned.

The head of the state sought help of the local representatives, journalists, teachers, civil society members, imams of mosques and imminent personalities in the society, to gear up the voter enlistment process.

The Election Commission should continue updating the voter list all the year round and take special programs in this connection for the people of remote, coastal and hilly areas, Hamid suggested.

“NID Database has become one of the programs under the ‘Digital Bangladesh’ platform at present,” the president stated.

He lauded different ICT-based initiatives of the commission, including biometric features and NID database system. He said these facilities ease and modernize work.

“This NID database system is now helping to provide salaries of government employees, as well as pensions, different works under social safety net coverage like allowances for freedom fighters, elderly people and widows,” he mentioned.

“I am very glad to know that Bangladesh is still among the top-ranking countries in South-East Asia in terms of using ICT in polls here,” he added.

President Hamid also put emphasis on creating awareness among voters, saying: “The election will be fairer, the voters will be more aware of their rights.”

No alternative to qualified leadership

Referring to the need of efficient and qualified leaders from the grassroots to national level, the president said there is no alternative to qualified leaderships for development and election is a great system in this regard.

President Hamid urged all, irrespective of party affiliations and opinions, to extend their hands of cooperation to the Election Commission so they can hold free, fair and creditable elections.

National Voters’ Day observed

National Voters’ Day is being observed for the first time in the country. 

He stated he hopes that all political parties and socio-cultural organizations will work together to achieve the objective of the day.

“Instead of political blame game, a political culture of peace, amity, empathy and tolerance will be established in society. Democracy and development will reach the desired position subsequently,” the president hoped.

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