Back to square one

Back to square one

  • Dhaka Tribune December 31st, 2018


It is clear now that that hope is a distant dream, and that we remain as divided as ever

We had hoped that the 11th parliamentary election would precipitate or at least start the process of a return to a functional multi-party democracy with a fully functional parliament, something we had been missing since the 2014 elections which were boycotted by the main opposition.

Even if the elections were not perfect, the hope was that they would be better than those of five years ago and that with this election we would be able to begin the process of repairing our broken polity. The last five years have been years of great economic advancement, and the hope was that we could start bringing our politics up to par with our booming economy.

Indeed, three months ago it seemed doubtful that we would have anything approaching a participatory election. Therefore the fact that we were even having a fully participatory election could therefore be seen as a positive.

Now, however, even that consolation seems beyond us. We had hoped for an election that — even if imperfect — would be accepted by all parties, and give us enough of a basis to both get on with the business of the state and also to hope that politics could start to return to normal.

More than anything else, we had hoped that this election could see the rebirth of something approaching national unity and commonality of purpose.

However, it is clear now that that hope is a distant dream, and that we remain as divided as ever.

We must acknowledge the sad and sober truth that the 11th parliamentary election did not help us bridge the gaps between the ruling party and the opposition that we had hoped it would, and that in terms of fixing our politics, we are back to square one.

At least one thing is better than before, and that is the commitment to talk out the differences between the two sides and neither take to the streets nor worse, as happened five years ago. We call on all sides to act with restraint and to abjure violence, as they seek to resolve the ongoing political imbroglio.

Maybe that is all that we can take away from this. Let all sides commit to abjure violence of any kind and pledge to try to work constructively to resolve their differences. We had seen evidence of this over the last three months in the civil and respectful pre-election dialogue and negotiation led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the leader of the Oikya Front Dr Kamal Hossain, so let us let that example guide us in the months to come.


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