Dhaka – President Abdul Hamid on Sunday initiated political dialogue with a major participant opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party expressing optimism for reconstitution of the election commission to ensure credible holding of the next parliamentary elections in late 2018.
“Election is very important in a democratic process and the Election Commission plays the main role in conducting elections,” the president said after the first day of a series of meeting.
An 11-member delegation of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party led by Khaleda Zia, who boycotted the last general elections to demand a non-party caretaker administration, placed a 13-point charter of demands to ensure fair polls.
The party asked the President to form a search committee to appoint the next election commission as the present commission is due to expire in February.
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said that the presidential dialogue will contribute an important role in the formation of next election commission.
“The president is sincere about the BNP’s proposal. We are hopeful that the President’s initiative will help end the political stalemate,” Fakhrul told reporters after the meeting.
The BNP’s meeting with the President lasted for nearly 50 minutes.
According to a Bangabhaban, the President said discussion with political parties will play an important role in constituting a strong Election Commission.
President’s press secretary Joynal Abedin said the president also told the BNP that he believed today’s discussion and your “well-thought opinion will play important role in forming a strong Election Commission”.
The president’s dialogue with registered political parties on reconstitution of Election Commission began with the discussion with BNP since he took the initiative as the tenure of the current EC led by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad is set to expire in February.
Exchange of opinions through this discussion would give multiple paths of solution to any issue, said the President.
“I believe your (BNP) proposals will play a positive role in forming next Election Commission,” said Hamid seeking cooperation from all political parties including to form a strong EC.
Khaleda Zia, the BNP chief, highlighted her party’s proposal to strengthen the EC and amend the electoral laws.
Khaleda thanked the President for inviting BNP for the discussion and wished a success of the President’s initiative to form the new EC.
She said her party would extend all cooperation to the President in formation of the new EC.
Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Moudud Ahmed, Jamiruddin Sircar, Mahbubur Rahman, Rafiqul Islam Miah, Gayeshwar Chandra Roy, Abdul Moyeen Khan, Nazrul Islam Khan and Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury were among the BNP delegation.
The President is scheduled to hold talks with Jatiyo Party on December 20, Liberal Democratic Party and Krishak Sramik Janata League on December 21 and Jatiya Samajtantric Dal (Inu) on December 22.