The Election Commission (EC) has officially slated January 7, 2024, for the 12th parliamentary election in Bangladesh. Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal made the announcement, revealing that voting would occur in 300 constituencies nationwide. Nomination papers are due by November 30, with scrutiny taking place from December 1 to 4. Candidates can withdraw until December 17, and appeals on decisions can be made from December 6 to 15. Election symbols will be distributed on December 18, marking the start of the campaigning period until 8 am on January 5.
CEC Awal highlighted the EC’s efforts to streamline the electoral process, introducing online nomination submissions through two new apps. The commission has already appointed 66 Returning Officers (ROs) and 592 Assistant Returning Officers (AROs). Awal emphasized the importance of transparency, ease, and fairness in the electoral procedures.
Stressing the constitutional mandate to hold elections within 90 days before the parliament’s term ends, Awal detailed the extensive dialogue and engagement the EC had with political parties, intellectuals, and civil society. Despite invitations, some parties declined to participate in the discussions.
The CEC urged adherence to the electoral code of conduct, emphasizing the role of political parties, officials, and law enforcement agencies in ensuring fair, free, and impartial elections. Security measures to prevent fraud and maintain order were emphasized.
With preparations almost complete, including an updated voter list and constituency demarcation, Awal called on the media and election observers for cooperation. He stressed the media’s role in ensuring visibility and transparency in the electoral process.
In concluding remarks, CEC Awal expressed confidence that the 12th JS elections would be free, impartial, participatory, and peaceful with the collective effort and responsible behavior of all stakeholders. He appealed for sincere participation and cooperation from political parties, candidates, and the public in this democratic exercise.
Met Office Forecasts Prolonged Rainfall Amidst Cyclone Michaung
Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, has been experiencing consistent drizzle since the early hours of Thursday (7th December), a weather pattern attributed to the influence of Cyclone Michaung, which formed in the Bay of Bengal. The Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD) reported that this rainy condition is expected to persist in various parts of the country, including Dhaka, until Friday. Furthermore, temperatures are anticipated to drop starting Monday, contributing to a change in the overall weather pattern.
According to the meteorological office, light to moderate rain or thundershowers, accompanied by temporary gusty winds, are likely in numerous areas across the country. The regions most affected include Chattogram and Sylhet divisions, with a few places in Barishal, Dhaka, and Mymensingh divisions also expected to experience rainfall. Additionally, Chattogram division may witness moderately heavy to heavy falls at specific locations. Commuters in Dhaka have already faced disruptions, experiencing unusual traffic patterns, and office-goers, particularly those in the private sector, have encountered difficulties reaching their workplaces.
Cyclone Michaung, having formed in the Bay of Bengal, made landfall on the coast of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on December 5, leading to cloudy skies in various parts of Bangladesh, including the capital. The influence of this cyclone has persisted, contributing to the ongoing weather conditions. Notably, 10 mm of rainfall was recorded in Dhaka in the 24 hours leading up to 6 am on Thursday, with the highest rainfall of 26 mm recorded in Jashore.
While a 48-hour blockade is currently in effect, Dhaka commuters have observed unusual traffic patterns in many parts of the city. The meteorological office reported that Cyclone Michaung has weakened in Andhra Pradesh and nearby areas. Nevertheless, its influence has resulted in the continued formation of deep circulating clouds in the North Bay of Bengal and coastal areas of Bangladesh.
Despite the rainfall in December, temperatures have not seen a significant decrease. The Met Office suggests that it will not feel chilly for the next two days due to moisture in the air after the rains. However, if humidity decreases within two days, there may be a return of wintry chills. The Met Office recorded rain in various parts of the country under the influence of Cyclone Michaung, with the highest rainfall observed in Dinajpur at 3 mm.
CEC Sets Dec 10-15 for Nomination Appeal Hearings
Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal announced today that the Election Commission (EC) will conduct appeal hearings for candidate nomination papers from December 10 to December 15.
Emphasizing the smooth reception of appeals by officials, he stated that the entire commission will listen to appeals during this period and make decisions collectively. The CEC made these remarks while visiting 10 temporary booths dedicated to the filing, hearing, and resolution of appeals in preparation for the 12th parliamentary elections scheduled for January 7, 2024.
Awal outlined that specific regions have been designated for filing appeals, and the commission will dispose of appeals accordingly. Both accepted and rejected nomination papers are subject to appeal, and the CEC clarified that individuals dissatisfied with the nomination submission process can file appeals from December 5 to December 9.
Dhaka Ranks First in World’s Worst Air Quality List
Dhaka Leads Global Cities in Poor Air Quality with AQI of 186 Dhaka, as of 9:10 am today, holds the unenviable top spot for the world’s worst air quality, scoring 186 on the AQI index. The air in Dhaka is categorized as ‘unhealthy,’ according to the air quality and pollution city ranking. Other cities in the top four include Delhi (India), Shenyang (China), and Sarajevo (Bosnia Herzegovina) with AQI scores of 181, 177, and 174, respectively.
An AQI between 151 and 200 is considered ‘unhealthy,’ while 201-300 is ‘very unhealthy,’ and 301-400 is deemed ‘hazardous,’ posing severe health risks to residents. The AQI, an index reporting daily air quality, assesses the cleanliness or pollution levels and potential health effects associated with a city’s air. Bangladesh’s AQI considers five pollutants: particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), NO2, CO, SO2, and ozone.
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