No foreign pressure over national election: Law Minister
Law Minister Anisul Huq on Thursday said that there is no foreign pressure on the government about the upcoming national election. “If foreigners want to know (about election), we don't mind telling them about it as we do not do politics of killings or lies. We don't hide anything, so we have no objection and no hesitation to let the diplomats know about it,” Anisul said. He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after a meeting with the ambassadors of Denmark, Italy, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and France led by EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley at the secretariat in the afternoon. Read more: Petition for extending suspension of Khaleda’s jail term in hand: Law Minister The minister said they will not listen to anyone’s advice about the country's internal affairs as it is an independent nation. “We will do whatever is good for the citizens of the independent state,” he said. When asked if there was any discussion on participatory elections, the minister said, "We want a participatory election. We want everyone to take part in the election. I can also say that there is no question that the upcoming elections in Bangladesh will be free, fair and neutral.” Read more: Foreign diplomats lament rate of women's economic participation while lauding Bangladesh's progress in empowering them “We will not go outside the constitution. The election will be held in the way as mentioned in the constitution. We want all the political parties of Bangladesh to take part in the election. But who will take part in the election and who will not it is up to the political parties,” he said.
No new roads before national election: Quader
Road Transport and Bridge Minister Obaidul Quader has said the government will not undertake any new road construction projects until the next national election and maintenance of the existing roads will get priority. “We have completed numerous development projects, now is the time to restore discipline on roads,” he told reporters after his meeting with the DCs at Osmani Memorial Auditorium in the capital on Wednesday, the 2nd day of the 3-day DC Conference. Deputy commissioners (DCs) have been instructed to prioritize work to restore order on the roads, said the minister. “I told them I don’t want to construct more roads right now. Our main priority right now is road maintenance,” Quader, also the Awami League general secretary, said. The minister said he instructed the DCs to focus on controlling movement of small vehicles like motorcycles on roads and highways. Also read: Must maintain good relations with India: Obaidul Quader Motorcycle movement in Dhaka city is under control now but people rarely wear helmets outside the capital, he said. Quader asked that the secretaries to formulate policy to regulate the movement of these vehicles instead of obstructing the sources of income of the poor. "It is DC's responsibility to control traffic jams and accidents involving these small vehicles," he added. "I am prioritizing restoring order in road transport," he said adding that small vehicles like motorcycles, easybikes, Nosimons, and Karimons should be brought under control. “We have built many roads and bridges. But if we cannot restore discipline, it will be all in vain. I asked for their cooperation in this regard,” he said.
Why restricting govt officials from contesting JS polls in 3 yrs of retirement not illegal: HC
The High Court (HC) on Thursday issued a rule questioning why the provision of baring government officials from contesting the national election until three years passed after retirement is not unconstitutional. The HC bench of Justice Zafar Ahmed and Justice Md Bashir Ullah issued this rule after hearing the writ petition filed by Brigadier General(Retd) Md Shamim Kamal. Read more: HC issues stay order on cancellation of Hero Alam’s nomination for Bogura by-polls Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Law Secretary, Home Secretary, Public Administration Secretary, Local Government, Rural Development and Co-operatives Secretary and Lalmonirhat Deputy Commissioner have been asked to respond to the rule within four weeks. Barrister Hasan MS Azim appeared for the writ petitioner in the court. Brigadier General(Retd) Md Shamim Kamal from Lalmonirhat filed the writ petition on January 15 challenging the provision of Article 12(1) (F) of the Representation of the People's Order 1972 which does not allow military and civilian government officials to contest the national elections until they complete three years of retirement.
US will condemn violence – from opposition or govt security forces in Bangladesh: Donald Lu
US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu has emphasised the government and the opposition “working together peacefully” to ensure the freedom of assembly as Bangladesh moves towards the next national election. “We as Americans, we will condemn violence when we see it – if it is on the part of the opposition, or it is on the part of government security forces. At the same time, we are going to focus on whether there is any intimidation during the election… we will say this publicly,” he told Channel 24 in an interview before wrapping up his visit on Sunday (January 15, 2023). Lu referred to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to a fair election and said US also wants a free and fair election without “violence and intimidation.” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday conveyed to the United States that they, as a government, want a “free, fair, transparent and credible” election and there should be no doubt about that. Read more: Civil society voices crucial to upholding people’s right to freedom, dignity in every country: US Lu also expressed US’ commitment to upholding democracy and human rights. “We will speak when we see problems and when we can offer suggestions. We will stand up for freedom of speech, freedom of expression. And we look forward to working very closely with our partners here in Bangladesh,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Responding to a question, the US Assistant Secretary told Channel 24 that they did not designate more individuals from the Rab to face individual sanctions. “We did not do that because we recognize the progress being made by the government and by the Rab itself.” Talking to reporters at MoFA, Lu said they had “quite a good discussion” about the Rab. “If you have seen the statement this week by the Human Rights Watch, they recognised and we recognised tremendous progress in the area of reducing extrajudicial killings by the Rab,” he said. On the security of diplomats, Lu said they take the security of Bangladeshi diplomats in the US very seriously. Read more: Lu pledges US administration's continuous support, cooperation for all future efforts “We spend a lot of time making sure that they are safe. We expect the same treatment from Bangladesh,” he said, adding that he was given assurance from every meeting he attended during his Bangladesh visit. The United States has also said civil society voices in every country are crucial to upholding people’s right to freedom and dignity. Assistant Secretary Donald Lu and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas hosted a dinner on Sunday night and listened to the work of human rights advocates in Bangladesh. Lu left Dhaka early Monday (2 am), wrapping up his quick visit with a series of meetings. Read more: Donald Lu: Issues of participatory polls, CHT discussed over lunch at FSA
AL always fulfills election pledges made to the nation: PM Hasina
Prime Minister and Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina today (January 14, 2023) firmly reiterated that her party always fulfills pledges made to the nation ahead of national elections. “Before every election, Awami League places its election pledges, and Awami League always fulfills its election pledges,” she said. The Prime Minister said this while delivering her introductory speech at the joint meeting of the AL Working Committee, National Committee and Advisory Council at her official residence Ganabhaban. She said that the government is working for the country and its people as per its election pledges. Also Read: Foreign observers are welcome during next general election: PM Hasina tells British MPs “We work for the welfare of the nation and people are benefiting from the results,” she said. Coming down heavily on a section who “always criticizes the government unnecessarily”, she said that the development of the country does not make them happy. Regarding corruption, she referred to her recent speech at the Parliament — asking to give her specific information on where the corruption is happening. “Give me information, and I will take action. This won’t just be lip service,” she said. Also Read: AL is party of people, no force can dislodge it from power: PM Hasina Sheikh Hasina said that the discussion on corruption is coming from those who are corrupt and turned Bangladesh into “a champion in corruption” during their regime. “Or doing microcredit business to overburden people with high interests against their loans — forcing them to leave their houses or commit suicide,” she said. She mentioned that through the ‘My House My Farm’, people won’t need to take loans from the microcredit lenders with high interest rates. Briefly describing the development activities of the government, she said, “Through developing every sector of the country, we have been able to reduce the poverty rate and generate employment.” Read More: Matia Chowdhury next Deputy Leader of the House “Anyone can remain unemployed if that person wants to remain so, but there is no scope to remain unemployed as we have created so many opportunities,” she said. In this connection, she mentioned the freelancing opportunities across the country through which youths can earn money from their rural homes. In the future, she said, the country’s exports will include food items and processed food, digital devices, and small mechanical items. “We will be able to increase exports through the investments that are coming into our one hundred economic zones across the country,” she added. Read More: AL invites BNP leaders to its 22nd national council Saturday She also said that due to the pragmatic and timely steps of the government in the last 14 years, people are now enjoying a better life.
Final game to be held in January next year: Quader
Bangladesh Awami League's General Secretary Obaidul Quader on Sunday (January 08, 2023) urged the party leaders and activists to get prepared for the next national election, noting that the final game will be held in January next year. “The final game will be held in January next year,” he said. He made the remarks while addressing the Jatiya Party (JP) tri-annual council at the Engineers’ Institute auditorium in the capital on Sunday afternoon. Also Read: We don't need leaders, want smart workers: Obaidul Quader tells BCL Mentioning his slogan ‘Game will be played’ as a kind of political humor, he said, “There will be game against corruption, drugs, conspiracy, communalism, militancy, and for the sake of protecting democracy.” He urged the party leaders and activists to get prepared for the next election and said “Good people are not in politics these days. We have failed to make politics appealing.” Stating that the reputation of student politics has gone, he said, “Politics will become characterless without the participation of good, honest, and bright individuals.” Read More: BNP to get fitting response if it resorts to violence: Quader Noting that democracy is crucial to saving Bangladesh, the Al leader also said that there is no alternative to Sheikh Hasina for continuing the country's development spree.
Those confused about the next national election should read Bangladesh's history: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Bangladesh is a democratic country and urged those, who have confusion about the next national election, to read Bangladesh's history. "Awami League has always formed government through election. We will surely welcome international observers. We have nothing to hide," he told reporters after the inauguration of the e-gates at Sylhet Airport, apparently referring to the US. Read more: Momen slams Bangladeshi expat's killing in US, denounces hate crime They have a lack of knowledge and they need to know our history, Momen said. "In our country, election is very participatory. There is enthusiasm and joy. This country was created based on democracy, human rights and to establish justice," said the foreign minister. Momen said Bangladeshis fought to uphold human dignity and the principles are deeply rooted in every citizen. Read more: The recommendations some foreigners at times give seem to be “idiotic”: Momen "Others don't need to give us prescriptions. We have made a commitment. Our Prime Minister made the commitment that our next election will be free, fair, transparent, acceptable and inclusive," said the minister. He said the government wants the election, taking all on board who are willing to participate in the election.
Economy offers reasons for optimism, even as chronic problems persist
Economists are hopeful that Bangladesh’s economy will regain the growth momentum while reducing inflation and stabilising the exchange rate in the New Year. Despite higher inflation and fluctuating currency exchange rate, record defaulted loans, they are optimistic about the overall growth of the domestic economy, which is predicted by the IMF and World Bank to be over 6 percent still in FY23. Major challenges including capital flight ahead of the national election, persistent loan default culture, and lack of good governance in the banking sector will however remain. Also read: Bangladesh performing well in 3 major economic indicators, data shows Former adviser on finance and planning to a caretaker government Dr ABM Mirza Azizul Islam told UNB that Bangladesh’s economy remains in a good position compared to many other Asian countries - including Indonesia and Singapore. The trade deficit is widening due to the sharp rise in import demand, which should be tackled by discouraging unnecessary imports and increasing domestic agriculture production. Huge import payments have eaten away at the foreign exchange reserve, he said. Mirza Aziz said the pace of reducing the poverty rate (proportion of population under the poverty line) has slowed down. Inflation over 8 percent is pinching people’s pockets, as it creates an imbalance in the earnings and expenditure of marginal people. Read More: Keep wheels of economy running amid global crisis: PM urges industrialists He also suggested cutting additional facilities for loan defaulters as it is not good for the economy and the loan default culture could be reduced if the defaulters face legal action. Former governor of Bangladesh Bank Dr Atiur Rahman said the economy in the New Year will face both opportunities and challenges, depending mostly on developments in the global economy. “If the war in Ukraine comes to an end the global supply chains will improve and the shipping and fuel costs will come down. This will have some positive impact in terms of reducing the level of imported inflation with a huge impact on our overall inflation as well,” he said. Read More: Investment projection spelled out to counter hurdles for growth “However, we also need to do more on our domestic fronts to reduce this inflation,” Dr Atiur added. Inflation is certainly the biggest problem for middle and low-income people. On the other hand, if the Fed (US Federal Reserve, America’s central bank) stops tightening its monetary policy, it would have some positive impact on the Taka-Dollar exchange rate. On the whole, the geopolitical tensions will continue to determine the pace of Bangladesh’s economic growth and the level of inflation. “Yet, we must continue to support agriculture, remittances, and export sectors to contribute positively from within towards better gains of our economic growth. The monetary policy should continue to move towards market-determined conditions to help stabilise inflation from the demand side,” the former governor of Bangladesh Bank said. Read More: Green Economy in Bangladesh: Prospects and Challenges On the whole, the challenges will remain, but the economy of Bangladesh may stabilise with a robust foundation if the global situation turns favourable and austerity measures remain in place.
EVMs: How many seats to be known by Jan
Election commissioner (EC) Md Alamgir said the number of constituencies that will be voted on by electronic voting machines (EVM) will be known within January. "The decision will be made within the month of January regarding how many seats' election will be held through EVM in the 12th national election," he said. EC Alamgir said this to reporters at his office in the Agargaon election building in the capital on Tuesday. Read more: No budget for CCTV monitoring in by-elections: Election commissioner He said polling can be held in 70 seats with the current number of EVMs while how many more depends on the amount allocated in the budget. The Election Commissioner also said that if sufficient budget is available by January, then the EVM voting will be held in 150 seats. But it will not be possible if the budget is received in February.
Swedish, Norwegian envoys talk politics and polls with BNP leader Fakhrul
The ambassadors of Sweden and Norway to Bangladesh on Tuesday had a ‘closed-door’ meeting with BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir and discussed various issues relating to the country's next national election. Swedish Ambassador Alexandra Berg Von Linde and Norwegian envoy Espen Rikter-Svendsen sat in the meeting with Fakhrul at the BNP chairperson’s Gulshan office at 3;10 pm and it continued until 4:30pm. BNP standing committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury was present at the meeting. Also read: Get ready for more sacrifices to oust AL govt, restore democracy, Fakhrul tells BNP members Talking to reporters after the meeting, Khosru said the two envoys mainly discussed the latest political situation, recent political incidents, and the country’s electoral system. He, however, declined to elaborate on what they talked about the next election and the political situation. "I can't go into detail about what was discussed inside. I can only say all the matters related to the current political context of Bangladesh have been discussed." Asked whether there was a discussion about the next election, Khosu said, "Of course, we talked about the election. Because the election is now on everyone's mind. The election is very important to everyone in the country and outside the country. “ Read more: BCL, BNP activists clash in Jhenaidah, several hurt He said the international community wants an elected government and an elected parliament to be in place in Bangladesh through a fair election. During the discussion, Khosru said the two ambassadors wanted to know what could be the future of Bangladesh's politics and the situation of the country’s democracy and human rights rule of law, and public safety.