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BNP threatens to opt out of polls again
BNP threatens to opt out of polls again
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has threatened to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections if they are not held under supervision of a polls-supportive neutral government. BNP has no representation in the present parliament as it boycotted the last parliamentary elections in 2014 demanding a ‘non-partisan, neutral government’ for conducting election.

“There will be no election under a political government”, Khaleda Zia said addressing a mammoth rally recently at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka. She demanded holding of the next elections, due in late 2018 or early 2019, under supervision of a neutral government with deployment of army with magistracy power.

 

BNP has also put this demand to the Election Commission at a meeting recently. This is not the first time Khaleda Zia sought deployment of army. Earlier, in 2012 she had sought army intervention to end the political chaos in the wake of war crimes trial in Bangladesh. With Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina determined not to give any concession to the BNP, the army seems to be Khaleda Zia’s last hope for taking over power from the Awami League in the upcoming parliamentary election.
BNP has also put this demand to the Election Commission at a meeting recently. This is not the first time Khaleda Zia sought deployment of army. Earlier, in 2012 she had sought army intervention to end the political chaos in the wake of war crimes trial in Bangladesh. With Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina determined not to give any concession to the BNP, the army seems to be Khaleda Zia’s last hope for taking over power from the Awami League in the upcoming parliamentary election.

 

Provision for holding election under a ‘non-partisan neutral government’ had to be incorporated in Bangladesh constitution in 1996 in the wake of BNP’s stubborn refusal to face a fair election. Then BNP had subverted the entire electoral democratic machinery and positioned its loyalists in all key positions just before the election. It had even manipulated the voters list to rig the poll in its favour. This was the primary reason why the system of a neutral government system for overseeing elections had to be introduced by amending the constitution.

 

Now the decision to do away with this peculiar type of ‘neutral government’ for holding election has been taken through the 15th Constitution Amendment in mid 2011 following the Supreme Court verdict declaring the 13th Constitution Amendment incorporating the provision of an un-elected government to oversee parliamentary elections illegal.

BNP has been reiterating that it will opt out of parliamentary election if it is held under supervision of ‘political government’. The argument being put forward by the party in support of its demand is that the incumbent will manipulate the poll in its own favor, and that a non-partisan neutral government will be foolproof against electoral malpractices and manipulation of election results.

 

BNP has been reiterating that it will opt out of parliamentary election if it is held under supervision of ‘political government’. The argument being put forward by the party in support of its demand is that the incumbent will manipulate the poll in its own favor, and that a non-partisan neutral government will be foolproof against electoral malpractices and manipulation of election results.

 

What are the essentials for a free and fair election in any country? Apart from an independent Election Commission responsible for all aspects of conducting this nation-wide exercise, other requirements are law courts, the High Court and the Supreme Court. Moreover there should be neutral watchdogs and above all, a vast, vibrant and vigorous media. A truly independent and strong Election Commission and not Khaleda Zia’s so-called neutral polls supportive administration is a pre-requisite for free and fair poll.

 

Whenever general elections are held in any country, there are neutral election observers, including foreign teams, to oversee the election process. Credibility of elections depends on their reports. The new government is then formed for a period of five years with all powers over the whole country. The same government formed by the people’s elected representatives, whose coming to power was deemed constitutional and lawful, cannot suddenly become untrustworthy and unfit to undertake what is its last and final lawful act, constitutionally imposed, to arrange and hold the general elections in the country and hand over power to the people’s representatives. 




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