The election of Rangpur City Corporation is likely to take place in December this year as its five-year tenure is set to expire in March next year.
Sources in the Election Commission said the previous Rangpur city polls – also its first ever – took place on December 20, 2012 and its first meeting was convened on March 19, 2013, which means its the tenure of the current city corporation administration ends on March 18, 2018.
According to the Election Commission law, the election of a government body must take place within 180 days before its expiration. Following this law, the next election of Rangpur City Corporation must take place between September 20, 2017 and March 18, 2018.
“It is mandatory to hold the Rangpur City Corporation election before March,” Election Commission acting secretary Helaluddin Ahmed told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday. “We have decided to hold it in December, and will announce the schedule in the first week of November.”
The acting secretary further said the Election Commission was planning to use the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in one of the wards under the city corporation.
“Nothing is finalised yet. We have a meeting with the chief election commissioner [KM Nurul Huda] tomorrow [Tuesday], where we will discuss the use of EVM,” he added.
The estimated budget for the election is Tk5-7 crore, but the amount could increase if necessary, said Enamul Haque, senior assistant secretary of the Election Commission's budget wing.
With a population of one million and 400,000 voters, the Rangpur City Corporation consists of 33 wards and 196 polling centres. Sarfuddin Ahmed Jhantu is the current mayor of the city corporation.
The Election Commission is also planning to hold the elections of five other city corporations around the country – Rajshahi, Barisal, Khulna, Sylhet and Gazipur – in July next year, as the tenure of these city corporations will end next year as well.
With the 11th parliamentary election tentatively scheduled to take place between December 2018 and January 2019, the Election Commission is keen to hold the six city corporation elections before starting the preparations for the national election, sources said.
The city polls will be held in three phases, between December 2017 and July 2018, as the Election Commission believes it is the perfect time considering the exam schedule in schools and colleges, they added.
The schedule for the elections in Rajshahi, Barisal, Khulna, Sylhet and Gazipur city corporations will be announced in November or December as well, the sources further said.