Wednesday, January 11, 2012

President’s dialogue unfruitful: BNP

Submits proposals on EC reconstitution, to hold press briefing in afternoon.

Couple of hours after emerging from the president’s ongoing dialogue on reconstitution of the Election Commission Wednesday, main opposition BNP termed the talks unfruitful.

The BNP made the observation in the context of chances of fulfillment of its demand for restoring the caretaker government which was the party’s main talking point during the one-hour talks.

BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia led a 15-member party delegation to the talks that began at Bangabhaban, the president's official residence, at 11:00am.

“Restoring the caretaker government was our main agenda. We didn’t discuss anything about the EC,” BNP acting Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said at a press conference at the party’s central office at Naya Paltan.

In response, the president said he could not do anything that might violate the Constitution, Fakhrul said, adding: “He however said he will convey our demands to the government.” 

During the talks, the BNP insisted on reaching a decision on restoration of the caretaker government system before EC reconstitution.

“The BNP thinks a free, fair and neutral national election with the participation of all political parties is not possible under a political government,” Fakhrul quoted Khaleda Zia as saying during their dialogue with President Zillur Rahman.

“You (the president) and the prime minister (Sheikh Hasina) also expressed the same opinion in 1995-96,” the BNP chief said in a written statement which was handed over to the president.
The party submitted written proposals and recommendations on EC reconstitution.

On December 26 last year, BNP decided to join the talks with the president following the latter's invitation to join the dialogue.

The government in June last year scrapped the caretaker system through the fifteenth amendment to the constitution, allowing parliamentary polls to be held under political government. The BNP opposed the amendment, and now maintains it will not go to polls unless held under a non-party caretaker government.

Against this backdrop, the president on December 22 last year started the talks with the political parties to discuss formation of the new Election Commission. The tenure of the current commission expires on February 14.