Parliamentary election to be held on March 17

The Elections Commission (EC) has officially scheduled the parliamentary elections for March 17. With the commission's decision, the parliamentary elections will be held during the month of Ramadan.

The EC had been discussing whether to hold the parliamentary election before or after the Holy month of Ramadan, which begins on March 11. EC had earlier acknowledged that a significant number of people abstained from voting in the recent presidential election and highlighted concerns about a potential low voter turnout if the parliamentary election coincides with Ramadan.

In a statement released today, EC cited significant administrative challenges to holding the elections after Ramadan. EC noted that the revised academic calendar released by the Education Ministry states that the week after the Fitr Eid holidays is the school examination period. This, in turn, could pose difficulties in securing schools as polling stations and may result in a shortage of suitable locations for setting up polling stations.

The EC noted that the March 17 date was decided upon taking into consideration that the last ten days of Ramadan have been declared as public holidays and the fact that the commission has to coordinate with government ministries and entities to conduct the election.