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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2956

Bangladesh: Election For Change In The Air

Our diplomatic correspond from Dhaka

Dhaka , 29 December,( Political parties mostly split between electoral alliances led by Awami League and BNP get locked in a battle for ballots today as the nation throbs with life at the prospect of a peaceful transition to democracy reports the daily star.

Polling opens at 8:00am to continue till 4:00pm without break. The government has declared the day a public holiday. According to Election Commission nearly 56 percent votes have been cast by the 5 hours of casting. It appears that a large percentage of votes have to be polled in the fray which would be a history in the peaceful transition to democracy. In some constituency the BNP led alliance supporters of candidate were apprehended for buying votes.

For the first time in the country's election history the contest will be confined mainly to two coalitions. The nation had been waiting for this day since dissolution of parliament on October 27, 2006. Now its expectation for a free and fair election to herald a change in the hostile political culture hinges on how things pan out today.

As many as 35,263 polling stations across the country are all set for 8.10 crore people to exercise their voting rights.

Of the voters, 4.12 crore are female and 3.98 crore male. The number of fresh entrants on the electoral roll has gone past the 1 crore mark.

A total of 38 registered political parties are running for 299 out of 300 seats. Election to the other constituency, Noakhali-1, was rescheduled for January 12 after grand alliance candidate and Gonotantri Party leader Nurul Islam died from severe burns in the first week of December.

The number of candidates is 1,555. Of them, 148 are independent and 60 women.

Contestants on the AL-led grand alliance ticket stands at 270 and on that of the BNP-led four-party at 266. Twenty-nine candidates including AL President Sheikh Hasina, BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad are contesting more than one seat.

Over 2 lakh local observers and 700 foreign observers are monitoring the polls.

The EC has taken all-out preparation to ensure free and fair conduct of the polls. It has employed 5,67,094 polling staff to get the job done.

Around 6 lakh members of law enforcement agencies and the armed forces have been deployed to effect foolproof security.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) ATM Shamsul Huda in an address to the nation last night called on everyone to come out and cast vote.

This is the first time the national election is being held in the month of victory. And the anti-liberation forces including BNP alliey Jamaat-e-Islami is under great pressure from voters not to cast votes for this party. Bangladesh media both electronic and print have been projecting favouabe change for a change. The trend of the result will be available by the midnight .

- Asian Tribune -

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