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Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Hasina firm on holding polls in Bangladesh

Hasina firm on holding polls in Bangladesh

Amid growing national tension fearing fresh political violence, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made it clear that the current session of the present Parliament would stretch beyond October 24, 2013.
The opposition termed the decision beyond Constitutional mandate.

She also said the government will deal with an iron fist if opposition parties try to create violence and chaos on issue to parliament’s continuation. Her comments came amid growing tension as the both the ruling and opposition parties are planning to hold “massive rallies” in Dhaka on October 25, 2013 to demonstrate their strengths on the issue.

Khaleda Zia, the main opposition leader, who has already threatened the government with “consequences” if the parliament continues after October 24, 2013 already asked her partymen to assemble in Dhaka on October 25, 2013 to force government quit. The party has also called for “all out resistance” alleging the ruling Awami League was planning to hold a “unilateral poll”.

Addressing a crucial meeting of the ruling Awami League’s Central Working Committee on Sunday, Ms. Hasina claimed, there was “no Constitutional bar” to continuing the present session of parliament beyond October 24, 2013. She also made it clear that the present government will start functioning as an “interim government” on October 25, 2013 to oversee the next parliamentary polls, to be held by January 24, 2014.

Despite opposition claim that elections conducted under the present ruling party would not be free and fair, the Prime Minister insists on holding the polls as per the provisions incorporated in the Constitution through the 15th amendment in 2011 . The civil society and international community, including the United Nations, have repeatedly urged the parties to find a negotiated settlement of the crisis. But the calls have went unheeded so far .

The main opposition, BNP, claimed that if the parliament continues after October 24, 2013 it will be “a clear violation” of the constitution. They asked the people as well as their leaders and activists to demonstrate against the decision .

The Prime Minister indicated “tough measures” against Ms. Zia's threat to thwart the next parliamentary election if it was not held under a nonpartisan government.