Upazila polls: No voter signatures required for independent candidates

Election Commission LogoProthom Alo illustration

The election commission (EC) has raised the amount of security deposits for chairman contestants in upazila parishad elections to Tk 100,000 from existing Tk 10,000, and the amount for vice chairman contestants to Tk 75,000 from Tk 5,000.

Previously, independent candidates vying for the chairman posts in the upazila election were required to submit the signatures of 250 voters along with the nomination forms.

The EC also scrapped the provision on the submission of voters’ signatures required to contest chairman posts independently.

Other than this, the EC also made several amendments to the upazila parishad election rules and code of conduct. A gazette was issued by the EC on Tuesday following the vetting of the law ministry.

The EC decided to make amendments on 20 February. As the gazette is out, the new rules will be in effect from the next upazila election.

As per the amended rules, a candidate must secure 15 per cent of total cast ballots to save the security money, which was 12.5 per cent previously. This time, candidates will file nomination papers online. Candidates can also campaign before getting the symbols, as well as use coloured posters and banners.

The amended upazila parishad election rules also clarified the authority of the EC to suspend election results and order to hold re-election.

The EC will hold local government elections for 481 upazila parishads in four phases between 4 May and 25 May. The first phase election will be held on 4 May, the second phase on 11 May, the third phase on 18 May and the fourth phase on 25 May.