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Schedule not before February 20

Staff Correspondent

Election commissioner Shah Nawaz on Tuesday said the Election Commission would not announce the schedule for election to parliamentary seats reserved for women before February 20 due to ‘legal obligations’.
The Jatiya Sangsad (seats reserved for women) Election Act 2004, requires the EC to hold the election to the reserved seats within 90 days from the publication of the general election results in the official gazette.
Article 65 (3) of the Constitution has reserved 50 seats exclusively for women MPs to be elected by MPs.
‘As per the law, the EC will announce the schedule for the election to women reserved seats in parliament after February 20, the day when the 30-working-day timeline for publishing the list of who are with which alliance,’ election commissioner Shah Nawaz told newsmen at his office. 
He said the law stipulates that the political parties or candidates are entitled to get 21 working days since the publication of gazette notification declaring the election result to inform the Election Commission whether the political parties or candidates would form any alliance with any party.
And accordingly, he added, the parties have informed the commission by February 9 with whom they would form the alliance in the election to women’s reserved seats.
‘Now the commission will make public the list of who will remain with which political parties in the election by February 20 and after that the commission will announce the schedule for the polls,’ Shah Nawaz said.
The Jatiya Sangsad (seats reserved for women) Election Act 2004 stipulates that the 50 seats will primarily be distributed among the parties in proportion to the number of MPs the respective party has.
According to the proportion, the AL-led alliance is likely to get at least 41 parliamentary seats reserved for woman, HM Ershad-led Jatiya Party having a total of 34 MPs is entitled to get at least 5 woman seats and at least two parliamentary woman seats are likely to be given to the independent candidates.
In reply to a question about the violation of electoral code of conduct in the Upazila elections, the election commissioner said the commission cannot take action on the basis of rumours.
‘Allegations of violating electoral code of conduct must be taken up with the returning officers and only then we will take necessary steps,’ he added.
The election commissioner said the EC would sit today with the district deputy commissioners, police superintendents and returning officers to talk about the law and order situation during the ensuing local government polls.

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