Bangladesh to hold elections on Dec. 23

By Md. Kamruzzaman

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – Bangladesh will hold general elections on Dec. 23, the election authority announced Thursday.

Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said the political environment is suitable for polls, urging all political parties to resolve differences and participate wholeheartedly.

Under the declared schedule, candidates must file their nomination papers either online or manually till Nov. 19.

The election date has been announced at a time when the opposition alliance is demanding that the schedule be deferred.

The ruling party Awami League had urged the election authority to hold polls by December.

The constitution says the election should be held before Jan. 28, 2019.

According to government statistics, nearly 104.2 million registered voters will elect 300 parliamentarians.

The commission will use electronic voting machines in urban centers including capital Dhaka, ignoring objections from the opposition.

The country's main opposition leader, Khaleda Zia, is behind bars and may not be able to contest the election.