Bangladesh PM hints at fresh polls if violence ends
that opposition boycott undermined legitimacy of ruling party's landslide
in Dhaka and Delhi
Bangladesh's prime minister
says new polls could be called in the troubled south Asian nation if the
opposition ends the
violent protests in which hundreds have died in recent months.
Hasina Wajed also rejected charges that the boycott by opposition parties of
the general election held on Sunday had undermined the legitimacy of her
party's landslide victory.
Monday, US state department spokeswoman Marie Harf expressed US disappointment
in the election, saying the results "do not appear to credibly express the
will of the Bangladeshi people".
ruling Awami League, which had already won over a third of the 300 seats in the
national parliament before the vote, added 104 to its total on Sunday.
government now has a three-quarters majority with a minor allied party playing
the role of opposition.
election can happen any time [the opposition] comes for a dialogue, but they
must stop violence," Hasina told reporters in Dhaka.
though senior Awami League officials privately admit that a new poll would have
to be held to gain a "resounding mandate", they have also said they
believe holding it too soon would be "detrimental to the security and
economy of the country".
main opposition party, the Bangladesh Nationalist party (BNP), boycotted the
elections after the Awami League refused to install a neutral caretaker
administration before the poll. Government officials say they wanted the BNP to
participate, even offering a choice of ministerial posts.
BNP, led by Khaleda Zia, has alternated in power with the Awami League since
democracy was restored to Bangladesh in 1991. Five years later, the Awami
League boycotted elections and forced new polls within months. Then in 2007,
amid political chaos, the army stepped in.
is a sense of deja vu about all this terrible, destructive animosity," said
Farzana Shaikh, an expert at the Chatham House thinktank in London.
observers have noted the absence of mass protests in recent weeks, with clashes
mainly involving small groups of activists from either side.
say this is because a harsh crackdown has prevented supporters assembling for
large demonstrations. Many of the party's senior officials have been arrested.
Zia, its leader, has been effectively confined to her Dhaka home for almost a
of the Awami League, and some independent analysts, say that the BNP's protest
movement has little support among ordinary people struggling with poor services
and rising prices.
of the violence have included many innocent bystanders, including children, which may also have sapped popular backing for the opposition.
people were killed in the violence on Sunday, leading local newspapers to dub
the poll the most violent ever in Bangladesh.
Five more deaths were reported on Monday.
exact turnout in the election – a crucial gauge of its legitimacy - remains
contested. Government officials claim that more than 50% of eligible voters
participated. The opposition alleges fraud and one estimate, by a consortium of
NGOs and unofficial monitors, put the turnout at just over 30%. Election
commission officials said the turnout was 41%, local
media reported on Monday night.
robust economic growth has been hit by the political crisis and diplomats in
Dhaka have expressed concern that progress in eradicating poverty may lag or
even be reversed.
Warsi, a British Foreign Office minister, issued a statement on Monday calling the election
disappointing.Election commission officials said the turnout was 41%, local
media reported late on Monday night.
true mark of a mature, functioning democracy is peaceful, credible elections
that express the genuine will of the voters. It is therefore disappointing that
voters in more than half the constituencies did not have the opportunity to
express their will at the ballot box and that turnout in most other
constituencies was low," Warsi said.
European Union, the US and the Commonwealth refused to send observers for
contact is continuing between the major parties, it is unlikely that any deal
that would quell street violence will be reached soon.
obstacle to an agreement will be the series of trials of senior opposition
figures, mainly from the country's biggest Islamist organisation Jamaat Islami
(JI), who have been accused of war crimes committed during the brutal 1971
civil war that led to Bangladesh's independence from Pakistan. One JI leader,
Abdul Quader Mollah, was hanged last month and more may follow him to the gallows.
told reporters on Monday that the trials would continue and that sentences
would be handed down.
majority of the casualties at the weekend were identified as activists from
opposition groups – including JI – who clashed with security forces around the
country. There were more than 100 arson attacks on poll centres.
new factor now is the Jamaat [Islami] and we are seeing a shift in the
political landscape, the outcome of which is not quite clear at the moment.
This is as much about a struggle for the identity of the state as about
zero-sum politics," said Shaikh, the Chatham House expert.
was effectively banned from participating in elections by a court last year and
has spearheaded many of the opposition protests in recent months.
the government party is uncomfortable with Jamat-e-islami Party then why does not
the government bans Jamet-e-Islami as political party. As the government has
the authority and power to ban it. Who has stopped the government from doing so ?
eminent political analysts of the country are of the opinion that World Community
of Nations would be kind to ask the government to kindly clarify on this point before trying
to ask BNP to leave Jamet-e-Islami Party which joined BNP group of parties particularly on election reasons and did not join BNP permanently . If BNP Asks Jamat-e-Islami Party to leave then immediately Awami League
would pressure Jamat-e- Islami Party to join Awami league
Recently A minister of the ruling party said that Awami League is
using Jamat-e- islami party as bait to catch and puzzle BNP. Meaning government wants BNP to step
in their trap. This is a brain child of the neighboring country's intelligence unit's suggested game that the government is playing, apprehends the country's Intelligentsia
could not ban Jamet-E-Islami why not ask the neighboring country the mother of all Jamat-E-Islami
parties through out the world. Ask India is Islam- E- Islami Party of its country a terrorist
organization or the country itself is a home grown terrorist country. Why not ask to
clarify this point from the authorities of that neighboring country. That
is acting as adviser to the party in power and creator of all problems in Bangladesh.