The decision on the purchase of new Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the 12th national elections may be finalised in next Monday's Election Commission (EC) meeting, says EC Secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker.
"The 7th meeting of the commission on Tuesday ended without a decision on the matter," the EC secretary told reporters following the meeting at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the capital's Agargaon area.
A year and a half before the 12th national elections, the constitutional body decided to conduct polls in at least 150 constituencies using EVMs, despite opposition from the Jatiya Party and the BNP.
The commission currently has 1.5 lakh EVMs which it can use to hold elections in a maximum of 70 constituencies. To conduct polls using EVMs in at least 150 seats, it needs to purchase 1.5 lakh new EVMs.
"The meeting discussed the commission's plans to increase the use of EVMs and their effective management to expand the application of technology in the country's electoral system," EC Secretary Humayun Kabir said.
Responding to a query, he said, "Basically, we discussed the price of EVMs at the meeting. A committee was formed to verify market rates of EVMs and the market price will be verified by the committee."
Asked when the committee to verify the price of EVMs was formed, the EC secretary said that was done previously but they could not complete their task. As such, Tuesday's meeting could not come to a purchase decision.
"The commission will review the committee's price estimates and come to a final purchase decision at the meeting scheduled for next Monday."
However, the EC secretary is reluctant to say anything about which country they will procure the EVMs from.
Regarding the size of the EVM purchase project, he said "We have not decided yet on the issue. After the next meeting of the commission, details will be disclosed."