Only 55 women contesting Bangladesh poll

December 13th, 2008 - 4:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 13 (IANS) Despite two women dominating Bangladesh’s political spectrum, the ninth general election later this month will see only 55 women among the 1,565 candidates vying for 300 seats - but this is still higher than at any time in the past.Women candidates are contesting from 60 constituencies, indicating that in most places, they will face each other.

A consolation would come in the form of nomination of 30 women after the election.

The figure of women contestants is up this time. In the 2001 national elections, 38 women candidates contested from 46 constituencies while 36 women candidates contested the 1996 general polls from 48 constituencies.

Eighty-two women candidates submitted nomination papers to contest the December 29 national elections from 88 constituencies but the nomination of only 55 was validated by the Election Commission.

Sixteen of them are from Sheikh Hasina-led Awami League, 13 from Khaleda Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party, five from Gana Forum, headed by noted jurist Kamal Hossain, four each from Jatiya Party and Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, both headed by former presidents, H.M. Ershad and A.Q.M. Badrudozza Choudhury.

Seven women will contest as independents.

Jamaat-e-Islami, the country’s largest Islamist party, has not nominated any woman candidate.

Both Zia and Hasina will contest the election from three constituencies each and Rawshan Ershad, a former first lady, from two constituencies.

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