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election FAQ

Elections in Bangladesh: 2024 Upazila Elections


On May 8, May 23, May 29, and June 5, Bangladesh will hold its upazila parishad elections. Voters will cast ballots for one chairperson and two vice chairpersons, at least one of whom must be a woman. The upazila parishad is the second-smallest unit in Bangladesh's local government system; there are 495 upazila parishads across the country. 

Ahead of these important elections process, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) provides Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on Elections in Bangladesh: 2024 upazlia elections. 

Learn more about IFES's programs in Bangladesh and follow @IFESAsiaPacific and @IFES1987 on Twitter. 

Additionally, visit IFES's Election Guide for the most comprehensive and timely verified election information available online. 


Election Day: May 8, May 23, May 29, and June 5

Registered voters: 121,775,450 (62,090,137 men; 59,684,389 women)

Seats: 495, of which elections for 479 have been scheduled, and 16 are to be scheduled

Candidates: At the time of this FAQ release, 3,416 candidates are confirmed for the elections scheduled for May 8 and May 23. The candidate lists for subsequent election phases are not yet finalized.

Campaign expenditure and donation limits: BDT 2.5 million ($22,790) for those contesting for a chairperson or vice chairperson seat; BDT 100, 000 ($911) for those contesting for a reserved women’s vice chairperson seat.


2024 Upazila Elections Election Dates and Seats1


Division Phase 1
May 8, 20242 
Phase 2
May 23, 2024

Phase 3
May 29, 2024

Phase 4
June 5, 2024
Phase 5


19 14 10 1
Rangpur 19 21 13 5 0


19 25 11 3 2
Barishal 5 14 13 9 1
Dhaka and Mymensingh 42 41 25 12 2


11 11 10 7 2
Cumila 32 29 15 3 5


" " 11 6 3
Total 152 160 112 55 16



The Bangladesh Election Commission (BEC) set the dates for polling for 479 upazila parishads, which are the subdistrict councils, in all eight divisions of the country. These local elections will be held in five phases, the first four in May and June 2024. Although Bangladesh has 495 upazilas, the dates for the remaining 16 upazila parishad elections will be scheduled for a fifth phase election once their current terms end. A breakdown of election dates and number of seats contested is listed in the table below.

The seats of 25 candidates who would have run in the first phase were uncontested. These include six chairperson seats, nine vice chairperson seats, and 10 women’s vice chairperson seats. Therefore, no elections will take place in Bagherhat Sadar, Munshiganj Sadar, or Shibchar in Madaripur or in Parshuram in Feni. Similarly, unopposed candidates for the role of chairperson in Saghata (Gaibandha) and Singra (Natore) were declared winners, eliminating the need for elections for those positions.[1] Initial results from the May 8 elections show a low turnout rate of under 40%.

It is important to note that the upazila parishad elections are one of three subnational government elections that Bangladesh holds. At the subnational level, Bangladesh has zila parishad (district level) elections, upazila parishad (sub-district level) elections, and union parishad elections, the latter of which is the lowest tier of local government. Because the zila parishad elections occurred in 2022, and the union parishad from 2021 to 2022, neither of these other local elections is anticipated until 2026 or 2027.

[1]  The Daily Star. (2024, April 24). 25 elected unopposed in first phase of upazila polls.


Upazila parishads are part of Bangladesh’s local government structure. The local government level consists of eight divisions. Under them are 64 zila (district) parishads, 495 upazila parishads, and 4,554 union parishads—the smallest local government units. All those bodies are elected directly, although only upazila parishads will be elected in the upcoming elections, while the union parishads and zila parishads are not anticipated until 2026 or 2027.

Where upazila parishads are responsible for handling administrative matters, maintaining law and order, and providing services related to the welfare of the populace. They also develop and carry out local plans for social and economic development. Their key responsibilities include creating employment opportunities, establishing programs to combat poverty, preparing development plans, and building and maintaining infrastructure. Upazila parishads routinely report to district law and order committees and other higher authorities on their handling of law and order.

Although upazila elections primarily impact only local governance structures and thus do not have the power to change the government that parliamentary elections do, they still play crucial roles in shaping the political landscape for members of Parliament (MPs), as their ability to intervene in their constituencies depends heavily on the outcome of those elections. As a result, sitting MPs have a strong interest in these elections, often backing their preferred candidates.

Each upazila has an elected chairperson and two vice chairpersons, at least one of whom must be a woman. Upazila parishads also have general seats which are indirectly filled by the chairperson of each union parishad within the relevant upazila and the mayor of each municipality within the upazila areas. Additionally, one seat for every three general seats is reserved for a woman who is a member of the union parishad or municipal corporation. Reserved seat members are elected by women members and councilors from the local government councils, although this process has not been followed in practice for years, and has yet to be clarified for this round of elections.


Upazila parishad members will be elected through the first-past-the-post system. Each voter will receive three ballots—one each to select a candidate for the role of chairperson, vice chairperson, and female vice chairperson for the relevant upazila. A candidate’s name may appear on only one ballot; a candidate must be a resident of an upazila to contest the election there.


A person is eligible for election for the position of chairperson or vice-chairperson if he or she

  1. Is a citizen of Bangladesh;
  2. Is 25 years or older; and
  3. Is registered as a voter.

No person is eligible to be elected and hold the position of chairperson or vice-chairperson, among others, if he or she:

  1. Renounces or loses Bangladeshi citizenship;
  2. Is declared “unnatural” by any competent court authority;
  3. Has been declared insolvent and has not discharged the liability;
  4. Has been convicted of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not more than two years, and less than five years have passed since his or her release;
  5. Holds any office of profit in the Republic or any other local authority of the Council Permanent tenure; or
  6. Is a member of Bangladesh’s National Assembly or the chairperson or member of any other local authority.

One of the two vice chairperson seats in each upazila parishad is reserved for a woman. Women can be elected to any general seat as well. However, only five women were elected to the general chairperson position in 2019, and none were elected to the general vice chairperson positions.


The Bangladesh Election Commission issued a circular on March 19, 2024 that cited sub-rule (1) of rule 51 (a) regarding campaign expenditure limits. Candidates contesting for the post of chairperson or vice chairperson may spend no more than BDT 2.5 million ($22,775) for the election; those contesting for the post of woman vice chairperson may spend no more than BDT 1 lakh ($911).


Security on Election Day will largely be managed by law enforcement personnel who will be present inside or outside each polling station as instructed by the presiding officer. In cases of misconduct within a polling station or failure to comply with the presiding officer’s lawful orders, the presiding officer can order the removal of the individual from the premises with the assistance of a law enforcement officer.

The Bangladesh Election Commission aims to assign at least 17 police and members of the ansar (an auxiliary paramilitary force) to regular polling centers, and 18 or 19 officers at higher-risk locations. The Border Guards Bangladesh will also be deployed. A judicial magistrate has been assigned to each upazila until two days after the election to oversee adherence to the Election Code of Conduct, and an executive magistrate will be stationed in each union or municipality from two days before the election until two days after to ensure safety and security, including through the deployment of mobile and striking forces.


The Upazila Council Act 1998 mandates the Bangladesh Election Commission (BEC) to publish the names of all persons elected as chairperson, vice chairperson, and female vice chairpersons in the Government Gazette as soon as possible after the election. However, unofficial results are typically announced 8 to 12 hours after vote counting is complete. The BEC publishes the names of the elected candidates in the Government Gazette following the declaration of results, generally within three to five days.


To the best of our knowledge, these FAQs reflect decisions made by the Bangladesh Election Commission as of May 14, 2024. This document does not represent any International Foundation for Electoral Systems policy or technical recommendations.
This paper is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The information herein is provided by the author(s) and does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.