Chief Election Commissioner Rakibuddin Ahmad has announced that the next parliamentary election will be held on January 5, 2014, while main opposition BNP and its allies have rejected the announcement, calling for countrywide blockade.
The country needs a fair and credible election, and it is laudable that the government has moved forward to conduct the polls within the parameters of the constitution, despite vehement disagreement from the opposition.
As a number of political parties feel that such a one-sided announcement of the election schedule would prevent a fair and credible election, we urge the government to exercise flexibility in the schedule as necessary in order to accommodate all parties to the extent possible and to avoid escalating the already heated situation that prevails between the AL and BNP as well as other opposing parties.
We hope the government will maintain flexibility when it comes to the election schedule and include other parties into this discussion. While the election under the current government is constitutionally justified, a rigid stance will compromise the credibility of the polls further.
Now that the schedule has been announced all parties should work together to find a compromise that would ensure that the election is fully inclusive and participatory, and that the Bangladeshi people are not denied a full range of choice.