- Posted November 30, 2013 by
Boycott Bangladesh's 2014 Election, Save a Nation
The next general election of Bangladesh has been scheduled on 5th January 2014. So, its only 36 days left. But, what we can see in the field? While the ruling party Bangladesh Awami League (BAL) has began their election campaign by nominating candidates, most of the top opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders except the Chairperson is in prison, those who are not in prison yet is in hiding as several cases been filed against them.
Everyone knew that this scenario will emerge when the ruling party BAL amended the constitution to remove 17 years of 'caretaker system', designed to hold free & fair election under non partisan advisers. Removal of the caretaker system resulted in a political chaos as according to the new system, parliament election will take place while Prime Minister will hold full administrative power, with her cabinet and parliament intact. Which means, the current MPs will run for the election while they are in their office.
The constitution was amended despite BAL's own parliamentary board member's opposition and without any consultation with opposition parties, moreover BAL amended the constitution on the basis of a Supreme court's order despite their observation that 2 more upcoming general election may be held under the caretaker system as there is lack of trust between political parties. They did what their party leader and current PM wanted to do as BAL have absolute majority in the current parliament.
Since the amendment of the constitution, opposition party BNP rejected this system, calling it unfair as it will not assure a 'level playing field', with the demand to fix this constitutional bug. As the election approached closer, BNP's demand became a public demand, and every single recent polls have shown that in average more than 80% of the population also wants a neutral government to hold the general election. Also, the civil society clearly stated their support for a neutral government because everyone knows the political culture of Bangladesh and no one believe that a free & fair election will be possible under any political party.
Recently, as the election schedule has been declared without any agreement between opposition and the government, it is more than clear that the government is heading towards a one party election. The opposition rejected the election schedule and demanded its halt till they reach a agreement. As the opposition party is not allowed to demonstrate in the public now a days, their demand follows country wide strikes. And, in these strike, violence spreads through out the country.
Along with the Bangladeshi people and civil society, International community also recognized the spread of serious political violence across Bangladesh and calling for conciliation. U.S.A, China, Canada, EU and UN officially asked BAL government to open political dialogue with BNP and find a way to bring all the political parties in a inclusive election. But, there is no sign of consideration of these calls by the ruling party. Even, according to the law, the government's activities should be limited in daily routine work, but they keep pursuing the opposition. And the recent crackdown of BNP's top leaders is a clear sign of their motivation towards a one party election.
So, it is very clear that the upcoming election is not going to be a inclusive election neither free & fair. The situation in Bangladesh is now very alarming and we fear that the main opposition leaders will remain in prison at the time of election. And as the government is using extensive force against anyone protesting their policy, we fear no one living in Bangladesh will be able to protest or stop this one party election.
In this situation, international community is the last resort of hope for the democratic citizens of Bangladesh.
So, We urge to the international communities to carefully observe the political condition in Bangladesh and act accordingly, which means not to support a one party election by sending election observers. Boycotting the upcoming non participatory election in Bangladesh can save the democratic tradition of the nation. Also, I think, it will be immoral to send observers to a election where country's main opposition party do not take part in the election and their top leaders are in prison while there is only 36 days left for the election.
Also, even if this election take place somehow, a general election under BAL will result in continuous post election violence and many more lives will be lost. There is serious threat of destabilization of the country in the near future as the radical groups will find their way into mainstream politics.
So, International community should take preventive measures before any problem arise in Bangladesh which situate in the world's most populated South Asia.