DHAKA (TIP): Rejecting Premier Sheikh Hasina’s proposal for an allparty government to oversee Bangladesh’s next general election, opposition leader Khaleda Zia said her BNP party would not participate in the poll process without a nonparty neutral caretaker administration. “If we go to the election (with Hasina remaining as the premier), BNP would be affected…you have lost credibility among the people,” she told a convention of proopposition professionals here amid tight security. Zia said her party would only go to election under a “non-party neutral government”. BNP plans to stage a grand rally on October 25 to mount pressure on the Awami League-led government to accept its demand for polls under a non-party caretaker government. Bangladesh is scheduled to hold next general election anytime between October 25 and January 25, 2014.
The constitution states that the election must be held within 90 days of the end of the tenure of the parliament. The term of the current parliament will end on October 25 and polls must be held by January 25, 2014. Awami League had scrapped the caretaker system amending the constitution with its three fourths majority in parliament two years ago in line with a Supreme Court judgement.The opposition in subsequent months staged violent street protests leaving scores of people dead. The opposition said elections under the party government would not be fair. But Awami League insisted the caretaker system proved counter productive as it was abused and it failed to protect democracy. League said the system rather allowed installation of an army backed regime to rule the country for two years, proclaiming Emergency Rules during 2007-2008, sending Hasina, Zia and many leaders of their parties to jail.