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Bangladesh

Begum Khaleda heading the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) had declared that they would boycott the polls and put up resistance if Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared the election under her. Since Sheikh Hasina has done so without a non-party government or something similar, the resistance is all over.

 

Bangladesh has been moving ahead in spite of being a victim of frequent natural calamities, global recession, climate change, occasional labour unrest and corruption but frequent hartals accompanied by widespread violence and sabotage appear to be the major obstacle to its growth rate.

 

The state of Bangladesh has its back against the wall. Its politics is clearly in free fall. The opposition alliance of 18 political parties, led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of former prime minister Khaleda Zia, appears to have lost control of the situation after imposing a series of general strikes and blockades on the country.

 

While the prime minister has vowed to go ahead with the vote, if necessary, without the opposition BNP leader raising political tension, the voters are being forced to endure untold sufferings mainly due to the waves of hartals called by the 18-party alliance led by Begum Zia.

 

Being the supreme law of the land, the constitution of a country shapes that nation’s destiny. How did Bangladesh’s constitution shape its people’s destiny?

 

The just concluded three-day hartal has been quite violent and bloody. Such mayhem was unnecessary and our two major political parties — Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party — must bear its responsibility.

 

Former prime minister Khaleda Zia, the current opposition leader in the Parliament, has been arguing for restoration of the caretaker government system. The problem is that the verdict of the Supreme Court has recommended its abolition. Based on the judgment, the present government passed the 15th Amendment to the Constitution, whereby the system of caretaker government was abolished.

 

At least the AL and BNP proposals have helped to reduce the prospect of a violent situation, for the time being at least, all revolving round the character of the interim political arrangement. How much this will help to address the current political flux and attendant uncertainty is another matter given that neither proposal has found acceptance of the opposite camp.

 

Bangladesh was one of the countries chosen for UN support to undertake national-based consultations, and it has taken the opportunity to be a leader among the LDCs in contributing to this dialogue.

 

In view of the current near stalemate situation over the issue of political arrangement for overseeing the conduction of national election, the question of democratic culture assumes special significance.

 


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