Blockade would not hamper voting: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad today said the opposition-called blockade would not create any problem for the January 5 national elections.

“It (the blockade) will create no obstacle for the voters to go to polling centres, as they will cast votes regionally. The blockade can only hamper commuting that nevertheless is restricted by us (EC) on polls day,” CEC said after meeting the President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban this afternoon.

The CEC also requested the citizens to franchise their constitutional rights of casting votes on January 5 polls.

Asked for his personal opinion on holding polls with only 12 political parties, Rakibuddin said: “We have tried our best to persuade political parties to reach consensus, but we also had constitutional obligation (to hold polls).”

He also mentioned that if needed, the armed forces might remain deployed at some places even after the polls.

“We called the armed forces to assist us (EC) till January 9 to hold a free, fair and neutral election; however, their deployment might be extended at some places if needed to maintain law and order situation.”

Banks and post offices will remain open on the polls day, the CEC mentioned.

However, Rakibuddin did not make any comment on the extended duration of armed forces’ stay after January 9.