A limited mandate
Tribune Editorial

The new government has to make a generally acceptable resolution of the current deadlock its first and only priority

The holding of today’s 10th parliamentary election in the absence of the main opposition party can only be justified on the basis of constitutional necessity. The results cannot and should not be viewed as a mandate to rule for a full term.

Indeed, it is the ruling party’s explicit articulation of this understanding that allows us to accept today’s election, and we take the ruling party at its word that it will immediately set in motion the steps necessary to come to a mutually acceptable compromise with the main opposition for holding fully participatory elections as soon as practicable.

Today’s result is predetermined due to the boycott by the main opposition party.  Even within many of the 147 out of 300 seats which are being actively contested, there appears to be scant evidence of public enthusiasm for this election.

The next government formed subsequent to today’s 10th parliamentary election will thus not be supported by a full choice of the voters or by a majority of voters at the polls.

Accordingly, the new government has to make a generally acceptable resolution of the current deadlock its first and only priority. The opposition, too, must be ready to come to the negotiating table in good faith to work out a resolution to the crisis.

The bloodshed that has marked the opposition’s campaign so far must be abandoned, and the opposition must press its case for the modalities of the 11th parliamentary elections in a peaceful manner.

We acknowledge that today’s elections neither resolve the political crisis nor bring an end to the issue of representative elections that are the people’s right. We call on both AL and BNP to move forward together to give the people elections acceptable to all.

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