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BNP turns down EC’s invitation for informal discussion

Staff Reporter:

BNP has turned down the Election Commission’s invitation for an informal discussion as the party policymakers think any meeting with the commission is meaningless since it has no power to resolve the political crisis.

The party, however, thanked the Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal for sending a letter inviting BNP for discussion.

BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir informed the decision of their standing committee in this regard at a press conference at the party chairperson’s Gulshan office on Wednesday.

He said their party standing committee had a virtual meeting on Tuesday and discussed the letter sent by the Chief Election Commissioner to the party Secretary General, inviting BNP for an informal discussion and views-exchange meeting.

“Our standing committee meeting feels that any discussion or dialogue with the Election Commission will not be fruitful and will be meaningless until the main political crisis regarding the election-time government is resolved,” Fakhrul said.

He also said the national elections in 2014 and 2018 have proved that the Election Commission (EC) is not independent and it does not have the power to conduct elections in a free, fair, and impartial manner, even if it wants to do so.

“It was decided in our meeting that BNP is unable to accept the Election Commission’s proposal (for informal talks) because there is no possibility of resolving the main political problem in such discussion and views exchange with the Commission,” Fakhrul said.

On March 23, Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal sent a demi-official letter to Fakhrul inviting the BNP to a views-exchange meeting to discuss the issues relating to the next national election.

The current EC had talks with political parties in two phases since its formation last year, but BNP and its alliance partners did not participate in the dialogues with the Commission.

Replying to a question, Fakhrul said they will not send any letter to the EC conveying their party decision. “I am informing him (CEC about our decision) through this press conference. I hope he would accept our opinion.”

In response to another question, Fakhrul said there is no point in sitting with the EC which has no power to resolve the problem of my country and its people.

“He (CEC) is not a mailbox that we would send a letter to him for giving it to the government. It is absolutely a matter of government. Since the government has a two-thirds majority in the parliament, it can do this, nobody else can take this decision,” the BNP leader said.

BNP can sit with govt on election-time govt issue
Fakhrul said they are repeatedly saying that establishing the election-time government is a matter of political decision.

He said the EC cannot take a decision on the caretaker government as the constitution needs to be amended for it.

“So it has to be discussed and the government has to come forward to this end. We don’t have interest in discussing anything other than this matter (polls-time govt),” the BNP leader said.

He also said their party will consider if the government gives any proposal for talks on the caretaker government issue.

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