Election-time Govt AL, BNP refuse to change stance

Mistrust between them widens further, Prof Rehman Sobhan tells roundtable

While some eminent personalities stressed that the two key political parties minimise mistrust and hold a dialogue to negotiate a polls-time government system, two senior leaders of both the parties yesterday once again said their parties would stand firm on their present positions.
About their uncompromising stands, noted economist Prof Rehman Sobhan said there was no second country in the world where two major leaders had not had political conversation in 23 years of democracy. Mistrust has widened over the years, he told a roundtable, “Change of Government through Democracy and Election”, hosted by Bangla daily the Prothom Alo at its office.
At the programme, Prof Rehman asked Awami League leader Tofail Ahmed how they would earn the trust of the opposition to make it join the election under the incumbent government and asked BNP leader Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain what would be his party’s arguments about its allegations of ballot box hijacking and violation of electoral process in an era when mass media was very watchful. Both the leaders avoided direct answers to the questions.
Tofail Ahmed said the AL would not move from its stance as the caretaker government system had been abolished in the constitution. On the other hand, Mosharraf said they would not join the election without any non-partisan interim government because it was not possible to create a level playing field for election under a partisan government.
It is not possible for the Election Commission to check all the 300 MPs if the next general election is held with the incumbent lawmakers in their office, said former chief election commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda. “The political parties will have to negotiate a poll-time government,” he said.
Former adviser to a caretaker government Dr Akbar Ali Khan said political will was the key to overcoming the crisis, when Hossain Zillur Rahman, another ex-adviser to a caretaker government, stressed that political parties work out a long-term political pact to flourish democracy.
Jatiya Party presidium member Anisul Islam Mahmud opined for forming a polls-time interim government comprising some MPs through negotiation.
Former president of the Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry Asif Ibrahim suggested forming a cabinet of interim government with representatives of both ruling and opposition parties.
Prothom Alo Associate Editor Abdul Quayum moderated the roundtable, while Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman, Ain o Salish Kendra Chairperson Hameeda Hossain, and women’s leader Shirin Akhter, among others, also spoke on the occasion.

Source: The Daily Star

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