Friday, April 20, 2018

BNP seeks dialogue on polls-time government

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BNP yesterday called upon Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to open talks on the formation of government for overseeing the next parliamentary election. "If the prime minister is sincere about forming an election-timeĀ  government, then she should hold discussions with all the relevant stakeholders," said BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.

"Our party believes that meaningful solutions to the 2018 election are possible through sincere and hearty dialogue. We are calling for the formation of an acceptable election system through long-term discussions with opposition parties and members of civil society." The BNP spokesperson was giving the party's official response to the prime minister's address to the nation on Friday.

The party has softened its tone since Friday, when Mirza Fakhrul said the head of government was pushing the country into a further crisis following her speech. The BNP, which boycotted the previous general election, has continued to press its demand for an impartial government during the eleventh parliamentary elections.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia had promised to provide an outline for what such a government would look like, but has yet to do so. In her address on Friday, Sheikh Hasina announced that an 'election-time government' will be formed following a cabinet reboot, just as it was in 2013.

During the tenth parliamentary elections, Hasina formed a temporary government with representatives of all the parties then in parliament. It is unclear if she plans to use the same process in the coming elections. The BNP does not currently hold any seat in parliament.

Opposing the PM's remarks, Fakhrul said her statements will only deepen the current crisis over the election as there is clear provision in the constitution about the election-time government.

"The next election won't be free and fair if it's held under a partisan government keeping parliament functional as per the current constitution. Because the election time-government will be similar to the existing one if parliament remains in place," he observed.

The BNP leader urged the Prime Minister to shun her 'stubbornness', and take steps for an acceptable election under a neutral government through discussion with the opposition parties for the sake of peace, people's welfare and stability. "It's the only way to take Bangladesh forward. Let's play a responsible role."

He said their party will come up with its proposal on the election-time government at the appropriate time.Fakhrul said there is no similarity between the reality and the statics the Prime Minister presented about the country's development in her address to the nation.

BNP standing committee members Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud were present.

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