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EC working to ensure voting rights of NRBs

Published : Sunday, 24 September, 2017 at 12:00 AM  Count : 527

The Election Commission (EC) is going to distribute NID to Bangladeshi expatriates or the eligible Non-Resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) through their respective embassies with a view to ensuring their voting rights.  
The EC is working to adopt a mechanism for them to be registered to cast their votes in Bangladeshi missions abroad.
Recently, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) sent a letter to the EC in which the letter asked the EC to undertake necessary steps to provide NID to the NRBs so that they can cast their votes abroad.
After getting the official instruction from the PMO, the EC has already held several meetings with the election commissioners and other senior officials. EC has already sent a letter to the Director General of the NRB department to seek their opinion to provide the NID to the NRBs.
Additional Secretary of EC Md Mokhlesur Rahman told the EC is working to provide NIDs to the Bangladeshi expatriates.
"A long-term planning is needed to implement this project because it is a difficult task. It is not possible for the EC to give the NID to the Bangladeshi expatriates at their doorsteps. They have to collect their NID from their respective embassies", he said.
Since long, the NRBs have been demanding their right to cast votes, but it did not materialize due to the complex procedure, he informed. This practice has been successfully adopted by many countries including the Philippines, Poland, Thailand and Ukraine, he said.
"Necessary amendments to the Representation of People's Order 1972 will be made
to enable expatriate Bangladeshis to vote from abroad", he said.
Sources said the EC has taken the matter seriously to hand over the NID to the NRBs after getting the instruction from the PMO.
Bangladeshi immigrant communities in the UK, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Middle-East are well-established, and are contributing the lion's share to our revenue earning and the forex reserve. Perhaps accepting this reality, the government is seriously considering ensuring their voting rights in the new context of our political reality, said the sources.
This certainly will be a major step by the government of Sheikh Hasina in enfranchising the country's nine million expatriates.

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