Saturday, November 25, 2017

BNP questions EC’s parliamentary polls roadmap

  • Senior Correspondent
    Published: 2017-07-16 19:59:38 BdST

File Photo

The BNP thinks that the Election Commission's roadmap to the next parliamentary election will not end the ongoing crisis over the polls.

Its Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir has said discussion on an election-time facilitative government is needed instead.

"There has to be a road. We don't see any road. So the question about the map comes later," he said in immediate reaction to the EC's plan on Sunday for the 11th parliamentary polls.   

"An assisting government is necessary for a free election. And discussions on forming that government are the need of the time now," he added.

After unveiling the work plan for the next polls, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said the commission has confidence in its ability to keep the polls free from influence.

He also said the commission would update and amend the roadmap upon talks with stakeholders such as civil society, media, political parties, polls observers, representatives of women's rights bodies and election experts.

Speaking to reporters at the party's office about the CEC's optimism, Mirza Fakhrul said, "The idea is very good. Everyone speaks this way. The current government is also saying that it wants to help hold election in an impartial manner.

"Then again, you see the situation the country is in now," he said.

"We don’t get permission to hold meetings. Our chairperson went abroad yesterday (Saturday) and our senior leaders had to stand on the street to see her off.

"You'll have to see whether the environment for an election is there now," he added.

The BNP leader questioned the unveiling of the roadmap by the EC in such circumstances.

About the CEC's comments on talks, he said, "We want a democratic system. And it will depend on the goodwill of the Election Commission and the government whether they want us there."

He said the BNP would officially react to the EC'sd roadmap later after discussions with senior leaders and Chairperson Khaleda Zia because the issue is 'very sensitive and crucial’.

The 10th parliamentary election was marred by the boycott of the BNP and its violent protests against elections with a partisan government in power.

The party is still pressing for an impartial government to oversee the elections, but the ruling Awami League is not too keen on doing anything about the demand.

"The main problem is - how the election will be held, what will be the government's position during the polls and what role the Election Commission will play," Mirza Fakhrul said.