Bangladesh opens the fifth phase of union council elections

As many as 14.2 million people are eligible to vote in these councils, the local administrative units of the lowest tier. Of these unions, 40 will use electronic voting machines, while the remaining unions will use traditional ballots. The poll will continue until 4 pm on Wednesday without a break.

The EC has ordered officials to strictly maintain order and prevent violence and irregularities, said Additional Secretary Ashok Kumar Debnath.

More than 50 people have died in violence stemming from the local government polls, according to media reports. Some incidents of violence have also been reported in the run-up to Wednesday’s voting.

“Besides the law-enforcement agencies, the candidates and their supporters must be tolerant of each other at the grassroots level,” said Ashok Kumar.

Each polling centre has 22 law-enforcement personnel. Police, Ansar and Battalion Ansar teams are working as mobile and strike forces. The authorities have deployed RAB, police, BGB and Coastguard teams in all upazilas to maintain law and order, alongside executive and judicial magistrates.

In the fifth phase, 193 candidates were elected uncontested, including 48 as chairmen, 33 members for reserved seats and 112 for general seats.

A total of 36,457 candidates are vying for the union council posts, with 3,274 running for chairman, 7,950 for reserved seats and 25,233 for general seats. A dozen political parties, including the Awami League and the Jatiya Party, are taking part in the election.

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