ANI Photo | Bangladesh: Election Commission to deploy army ahead of parliamentary elections

The Election Commission in Bangladesh will deploy armed forces across the country ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections set to be held on January 7, Bangladesh-based Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.
Bangladesh armed forces division’s principal staff officer, Lieutenant General Wakar-uz-Zaman, has said that the army will be deployed across the country for 13 days starting December 29.
Speaking at a media briefing, Zaman said, “The election commission (EC) wants us (armed forces) to be deployed to stage a free and fair election in a healthy atmosphere. We ensured them of all-out support,” according to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha report.
His announcement came after Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal and other commissioners held a meeting with concerned civil and military officials at the commission office.
Wakar-uz-Zaman said the army will be deployed across the country “in aid of civil power” for 13 days starting December 29. He further said, “we will extend our support to the commission the way it wants.”
He noted that armed forces deployment was “not a new phenomenon” as they were deployed during the general elections that were held in the past as well. He called the “today’s discussion” an initial meeting with the commission, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.
Speaking at the briefing, Election Commission secretary Jahangir Alam said that the EC sought the armed forces assistance in line with the ministry’s suggestions. He said that no detailed work plan has been made for the military engagement yet.
He said the Election Commission will seek Bangladesh President Mohammad Shahabuddin’s approval for armed forces deployment as he is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reported.
Asked about the number of armed forces personnel to be deployed on poll duty, Zaman said more than 35,000 army personnel were deployed during the 11th Jatiya Sangsad (JS) polls (parliamentary elections) and added that if more is needed, the number of troops will be deployed accordingly. Bangladesh Election Commission announced the election schedule on November 15.
Earlier in November, Bangladesh Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal announced that the 12th national parliamentary election will be held on January 7, 2024, Bangladesh-based Dhaka Tribune reported. Awal made the announcement while addressing the nation.
The CEC had stated that the candidates could file nomination papers until November 30, the Dhaka Tribune reported. Furthermore, the last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 17 and the Election Commission will allot election symbols to candidates on December 18. In the history of Bangladesh, the CEC announced the election schedule in a televised speech for the first time.

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