Local polls may be delayed: Bangladesh CEC

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Dhaka, Mar 20 (UNI) City corporation and municipal elections scheduled to be held in April may have to be shifted, the Chief Election Commissioner of Bangladesh said.

ATM Shamsul Huda told reporters yesterday the Election Commission had not yet received the amended local government election regulations.

Ascertaining the election dates for the four city corporations and seven municipalities would be possible only after the EC receives the legal guidelines for holding the polls, the CEC said.

''The Election Commission's chief aim is to hold the national elections, it doesn't matter if the local level elections are shifted to a later date,'' the Independent quoted him as saying.

The EC had initially announced that the city corporation and municipality elections would be held in April.

The electoral body was preparing to hold polls in the four city corporations of Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna, and the seven municipalities of Shariatpur, Shitakunda, Cox's Bazaar, Gopalganj, Sreepur, Fulbaria and Manikganj.

The CEC had requested the government on February 5 to relax the present state of emergency and the ban on indoor politics to facilitate the local elections.

Asked when the city and municipal elections schedule would be finalised, Mr Huda said, ''We can't tell you that until we get the amended local government election regulations.'' Asked by how long the polls might be postponed, the CEC said, ''Well, the local level elections may be deferred by a month or two, which we have taken on board.'' Mr Huda added the voter registration project cell had informed him that about five crore voters would be registered countrywide by March 26.

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