(Oct. 10, 2008) December 18, 2008, has been declared the date for parliamentary elections in Bangladesh. However, under the new Code of Conduct for Parliamentary Elections of 2008, the political parties will not be able to campaign before November 27. The Code allows election campaigning only during the three weeks prior to the polling date.
Under the Code of Conduct, political parties and candidates will not be allowed to organize rallies, processions, or any other canvassing activities without the permission of district magistrates, police commissioners, or authorized officials. The Code also prohibits electioneering at religious institutions or any place of worship. The restrictions apply whether the state of emergency is in force, relaxed, or withdrawn.
The new law became effective on September 18, 2008, and will remain effective until the publication of election results in the official gazette. Violation of any provision of this Code of Conduct is punishable by at least six months of imprisonment, a fine of approximately US$730, and the cancellation of candidacy. (Shakhawat Liton, Strict Code of Conduct Set to Take Effect, No Campaign Allowed Before November 27, THE DAILY STAR, Sept. 26, 2008, available at http://www.thedailystar.net/story.php?nid=56541.)