Bangladesh will hold its general election on December 23 and for the first time will use electronic voting machines on a limited scale, the electoral body announced on Thursday, amid an impasse between the government and the main opposition alliance over the timing of the polls.
"The 11th general election will be held across Bangladesh on December 23," Chief Election Commissioner Nurul Huda said in a nationally televised address.
Huda made the announcement hours after his meeting with four election commissioners to finalise the poll date which came amid calls from the newly-floated National Unity Front (NUF) to defer the election schedule while the ruling Awami League urged the commission to stick to its plan.
The candidates have to submit their nomination papers between November 9 and November 19. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on November 22.
Nearly 104.2 million people, including a little more than 51.6 million women, are registered as voters. They will elect 300 representatives to Parliament through the balloting in about 40,199 polling stations.
Huda also announced the plan for the use of electronic voting machines, or EVMs on a limited scale.
He said, "The countdown of the national election has already begun and the works of buying polls materials and printing have been completed," as he promised to ensure a "level playing field for all".
"We believe that if EVMs are used, it will improve the quality of the voting process and save time, money and labour," Huda said.
Earlier, EVMs were partially used in local government elections, BDNews24.com reported.
Despite objections from many political parties, the use of EVMs became possible through the amendments to the Representation of the People Order last month. -- PTI