Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Hasina says general election will be held as per Constitution, hopes all parties will join it

  • Senior Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2018-01-12 20:04:24 BdST

bdnews24
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina delivers a televised speech to the nation on the completion of the current government’s fourth year in office on Friday. Photo: PID

The next parliamentary election will be held as the Constitution mandates, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said in a primetime speech, making it clear that she will be heading the government during the polls.

In a televised address to the nation on the completion of her administration’s fourth year on Friday, Hasina hoped all political parties will join the election.

“I hope all the parties registered with the Election Commission will take part in the next general election and help democracy continue to flourish in the country,” she said.

Hasina is the longest serving head of government in Bangladesh, with 14 years to her name in three terms.

The Awami League president was elected prime minister for the first time in 1996 after being the leader of the opposition for five years.

She lost power in 2001 and regained it when the Awami League won a landslide in the election on Dec 29, 2008 and formed a coalition government on Jan 6, 2009.

The Awami League retained power after winning the 10th parliamentary election on Jan 5, 2014.

The BNP did not take part in the election as its demand for a neutral, polls-time government went unheeded.

Amid the boycott of the BNP and its threat to prevent the government from taking power, the Awami League formed the government for a second consecutive term on Jan 12 that year.

Hasina, in her address to the nation, outlined how the next parliamentary election, slated for later this year, will take place.

“The 11th parliamentary election will be held in line with the Constitution by the end of 2018. It’s clearly stated in the Constitution how the elections will be held,” she said.

The prime minister said an election-time government will be formed by reconstituting the Cabinet like in 2013. 

She said the polls-time government will cooperate fully with the Election Commission to organise the election.

President Md Abdul Hamid formed the Election Commission on Feb 15, 2016 through a ‘search committee‘.

The prime minister said the new electoral body has ‘gained the people’s trust’ by holding a number of ‘free and fair’ local government elections.

But, she also alerted the nation to possible attempts of throwing the country into anarchy ahead of the next polls, given the violence unleashed by the coalition of BNP and Jamaat-e-Islami ‘in the name of an election boycott’.

“The people don’t want violence. They will not accept damage to their lives and properties during agitation on the pretext of election boycott,” Hasina said in a warning to her rivals.

Referring to the next election, Hasina told the nation: “You hold the power. So, it’s you who will have to decide what you want – whether to take the country forward or backward.”

“Just think in what state the country was in only 10 years ago.”

The prime minister mentioned the Awami League’s target to make Bangladesh a middle-income country by 2021 and a developed one by 2041.

“And we are not around after setting the targets. We have initiated and are implementing necessary programmes to achieve those goals,” she added.

She urged all to work together for Bangladesh’s progress by sinking their differences.