Millennium Post
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Over 26,000 observers to monitor Dec 30 polls

Dhaka: A total of 26,066 observers are set to monitor the national election to the 11th Jatiya Sangsad (Parliament) scheduled for December 30.

As of Sunday-December 23, the Election Commission (EC) sources said that a total of 178 observers on behalf of 16 countries and international organisations have so far shown interest in monitoring the election. Of the total, 97 are foreigners; many of them stationed in Dhaka, and the rest are Bangladeshis.

The US will deploy a maximum of 65 observers and 32 of them are foreigners; Germany will assign eight observers including six foreigners; Japan nine observers including four foreigners, and Switzerland six observers including two foreigners. The Netherlands will engage four foreigners.

France will field four observers including two foreigners; Denmark three observers including one foreigner, and Norway two observers including one foreigner.

The Democracy International will send 22 observers including two foreigners while the Asian Foundation seven observers including two foreigners.

Four observers including one foreigner will be from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

The Nepal-based Dipendra Kandel Initiative will send three foreigners while United States-Based International Republican Institute will field four observers including two foreigners.

Apart from this, the EC invited two representatives each from member countries of the Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia.

The EC also invited the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Commonwealth and the Philippines-based Association of Asian Election Authorities (AAEA) to send representatives to monitor the national election of Bangladesh.

EC Joint Secretary SM Asaduzzaman on Sunday (December 23) said that they approved 25,920 local observers from 81 organisations to monitor the polls.

According to EC sources, the aforesaid organisations applied for the approval of a total of 34,671 local observers.

About 160,000 (1.6 lakh) local and 600 international observers monitored the December 29, 2008 election. About 218,000 (2.18 lakh) domestic and 225 international observers monitored the national election in 2001.

However, the number of voters and the polling stations is much higher this time than in 2008.

In the ensuing December 30 national election, nearly 40,183 polling stations will be set up for more than 10.41 crore voters.

In the October 1, 2001 election, a total of 29,978 polling centres were set up for 7.50 crore voters. In the December 29, 2008 polls, there were some 35,263 polling centres for 8.1 crore electorates, the EC sources added.

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