The resignation letters of three technocrat ministers and three advisers to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh have been accepted. The Cabinet Division issued a notification in this regard on Wednesday (November 29, 2023). The three technocrat ministers-- Posts, Telecommunications Minister Mustafa Jabbar, Science and Technology Minister Yeafesh Osman and State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Ala —resigned from their respective posts on November 19. Process on to accept resignations of 3 technocrats in cabinet, 4 PM's advisers Besides, Prime Minister’s Economic Affairs Adviser Dr Mashiur Rahman, Energy Adviser Dr Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi also resigned from their respective posts on the same day. PM helms science, telecom ministries quit by technocrats After resignation of the three technocrat ministers, now there are 44 cabinet members except the Prime Minister and of them 23 are ministers, 18 are state ministers and three are deputy ministers. On November 15, Kazi Habibul Awal, Chief Election Commissioner announced that the national election will be held on January 7. Resignation of 4 technocrat ministers accepted; gazette published
Eminent economist Dr Ahsan H. Mansur has said that political instability or uncertainty always affects the economy adversely. Dr Mansur, executive director of the Policy Research Institute (PRI), a Dhaka-based think tank, was talking to UNB on the ongoing political situation centred on the 12th national election and the opposition's hartal-blockade programs. “Bangladesh's macroeconomy is facing challenges not seen in the last 25/30 years, so tackling the grave situation politically is very important,” he said. The political unrest alongside the macroeconomic instability is a double blow for the domestic economy, so the current domestic situation is different from any other election period in the history of Bangladesh, Dr Mansur pointed out. Read: Blockades are bad for economy, scare foreign investors: FBCCI President He said, “If the national election is not credible to the international and domestic people, the concern will grow over what steps and reaction come from western countries, which is the export destination of most Bangladeshi products.” Meanwhile, the foreign countries have expressed concern over a decent working environment for labour, security of labour organisations' leaders, and desired wages in the export-oriented garment industries, he said. Bangladesh's human rights record was reviewed for the fourth time under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), an important UN human rights mechanism. Bangladesh's human rights record is under the scrutiny of the UN, EU, and USA, in this case, the steps for a political resolution and securing labour rights are very crucial, he opined. Regarding releasing the second instalment of the IMF’s USD $4.70 billion loan, Dr. Mansur, who is also a former senior economist of the IMF, said that there is no reason to delay the second instalment of the loan as Bangladesh met most of the conditions set by the global lender. Read: Economy bears brunt of ongoing blockades and hartals ahead of polls: Dr Atiur Rahman He said double-digit inflation has been prevailing in Bangladesh for a long time, while the South Asian countries including Sri Lank had succeeded in controlling inflation. In this area, Bangladesh has to do more to reduce the inflation rate to 4-5 percent. He focused on a market-based foreign exchange rate to make the exchange rate sustainable instead of being controlled by the Bangladesh Bank or Bangladesh Foreign Exchange Dealers Association (BAFEDA). Dr. Masur suggested policy reform and effective measures to stop money laundering or capital flight for a sustainable domestic foreign exchange market, in that the central banks have to apply their regulatory authority without bias or influence. “Despite a huge workforce and advantage of geographical location, Bangladesh cannot attract big volume foreign direct investment (FDI) due to lack of policy reforms and weak regulatory authority. Political unrest will work as another barrier for FDI,” he pointed out. Read: An innovation leap: Nagad Digital Bank aims to extend reach to the unbanked and underbanked Regarding political resolution, he said that there is no alternative to dialogue amongst major political parties, and tolerance of opposition for those who are in strong positions or in power is very important. Dr Mansur said all parties' participation in the upcoming election is the best option for Bangladesh in consideration of the overall current situation, while dialogue and level playing field for political parties are important issues. He thinks that the situation is not normal, as what is happening in Bangladesh is being keenly watched around the world, so the authorities must proceed with reason.
The United States has reiterated its desire to see a "free and peaceful" election in Bangladesh as the country is heading for the national polls scheduled for January 7, 2024. "We want to see a free and peaceful election in Bangladesh. We want to see the elections carried out peacefully," US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a regular briefing in Washington on November 21. Read: Netherlands to support initiative to address negative gender stereotypes, promote gender equality in Bangladesh He said that has been the US policy, as he has made clear a number of times. Asked whether the US will condemn the political violence "orchestrated by BNP" in the context of human rights that the US cares about, Miller said, "I think I answered that with my previous answer." Read: France very much aware of specific climate vulnerabilities of Bangladesh: Ambassador Masdupuy The Election Commission has already announced the next general election schedule for January 7. The main opposition party BNP is yet to take any decision to join the polls, while enthusiasm is seen among supporters of Bangladesh Awami League and likeminded parties who are joining the polls.
The second day of the countrywide 48-hour hartal, called by BNP, Jamaat and like-minded opposition parties, protesting the general election schedule, is underway. This is the first hartal being observed by the opposition parties since the Election Commission announced the polls schedule. The ongoing hartal will end at 6 am tomorrow (November 21, 2023). The presence of public transport on Dhaka roads seems usual this morning despite heightened tension and fear of violence. Read: First day of hartal ends amid sporadic incidents of violence, arson BNP, Jamaat and likeminded opposition parties called the hartal after they had earlier observed five countrywide blockades of roads, rail and waterways. The blockades were marked by frequent burning of vehicles, particularly buses, in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country. The presence of law enforcement personnel at several points in Dhaka is higher this morning compared to the blockades. The first day of the hartal, yesterday, was marked by sporadic incidents of arson attacks and clashes. According to reports, ten people were injured in a clash between police and BNP in Sunamganj while a primary school and a number of vehicles including a train were torched yesterday across the country. Read: BNP, allies hold rallies to mark hartal in different parts of capital A total of 235 platoons of Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) and 460 patrol teams of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) were deployed in Dhaka and elsewhere in the country to maintain law and order during the hartal. Earlier on Saturday, BNP leader Ruhul Kabir Rizvi called upon people from all walks of life and opposition leaders and activists to observe the hartal peacefully and make it a success.
Awami League president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the selling of party nomination forms for the 12th parliamentary elections of Bangladesh on Saturday (November 18, 2023) after collecting her nomination form. According to the party sources, the AL chief opened the nomination paper selling from party’s central office at 23, Bangabandhu Avenue at 10:30am. AL advisory council member Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed collected PM’s nomination form for Gopalganj-3 constituency. PM Hasina to inaugurate AL's selling of nomination forms Saturday Kazi Habibul Awal announced that the national election will be held on January 7. Those seeking party nominations will be able to collect and submit nomination papers from Saturday (November 18) to Tuesday (November 21) between 10am and 4pm daily. Candidates seeking nominations will have to collect and submit the application forms from the specific booth according to the administrative division from the central office of Bangladesh Awami League at 23 Bangabandhu Avenue. Nomination papers of Dhaka, Mymensingh, Sylhet and Chattogram divisions will be distributed on the second floor of the central office. Meanwhile, candidates from Rangpur, Rajshahi, Khulna and Barishal divisions will be able to collect nomination forms from the third floor of the central office . Nomination papers of all departments will be submitted on the ground floor of the central office, according to the press release. Nomination seekers will have to collect and submit the application forms by themselves or through qualified representatives of the candidates without any additional public gathering, read the press release. Seek public apology for killing people and arson violence: PM Hasina asks BNP, Jamaat The candidate will have to bring a photocopy of their national ID card with them to collect nomination papers. The deadline for submission of nomination papers is November 30, while December 1-4 was fixed for scrutinising nomination papers and the last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 17. The CEC announced the national election schedule of Bangladesh during a televised address to the nation.
EC has to hold election on time, no matter what the situation is: CEC says after meeting US ambassador
The Election Commission has no option except holding election on time as per the constitution, Chief election commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal said today (October 31, 2023). “The EC has to hold the election on time, no matter what the situation is,” the CEC told journalists after his meeting with US Ambassador Peter Haas earlier today. Read: Haas meets CEC, hopes all sides will engage in dialogue without preconditions The CEC said the issue of favorable election environment and preparations for the upcoming national election were discussed during the meeting with the US ambassador. “We want all political parties to participate in the election. This, however, does not mean that the election will not be held if the environment is not favorable,” the CEC said. “Political parties have many options. They can either participate in or boycott the election, but the Election Commission does not have any such option,” he added. Read: CEC to meet president on Nov 5 regarding announcement of nat’l election schedule The CEC said, the US ambassador hoped for dialogue among the political parties. “We expressed the the same,” the CEC said. Problems will not be solved by demonstration of force on the streets. “He (US Ambassador Peter Haas) also believes that the problems should be solved through dialogue,” the Chief Election Commissioner said.
The Chief Election Commission of Bangladesh will meet with President Mohammed Shahabuddin on November 5 regarding the announcement of the election schedule, according to Bangabhaban. The Election Commission (EC) sought a meeting with the president to discuss the 12th national parliament election yesterday. The commission led by Kazi Habibul Awal wanted to hold this meeting between November 1 and 5. Read more: No election without caretaker govt: Acting Ameer of Jamaat The Election Commission said it will hold a meeting after the meeting with the president. The schedule of the 12th national election may be finalized at that meeting. Returning officers may be appointed then. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal will then announce the schedule of the general election through an address to the nation on Bangladesh Television. A meeting with the president before announcing the schedule for national election is a long-time practice. Read more: If BNP genuinely wanted elections, they wouldn’t have resorted to acts of terrorism: Quader
Jatiya Party chairman Ghulam Muhammad Quader on Tuesday said that the new US visa policy for Bangladesh will be helpful in holding the next general election in a free, fair and credible manner. "The United States expects free, fair and neutral elections in Bangladesh. What is said in the visa policy, all goes in favour Bangladesh and its people", Quader, also the deputy opposition leader in parliament told reporters at the circuit house in the town before attending the bi-annual conference of Sherpur district unit of the party. Also Read: Fair election not possible in current system: GM Quader "We can’t expect a free, fair and impartial election under the current government. This needs to be changed. But we need consensus on the kind of change through discussion with all parties. So we (Jatiya Party) support the US visa policy," he added. GM Quader said everyone wants free and fair elections. "We haven't received any proposal regarding the election-time government from anywhere yet. However, we are working for the welfare of the people of the country. How we will participate in the next election will be discussed later and decided," he added. Also Read: People have no confidence in country’s electoral system: GM Quader Central leaders, including Jatiya Party Co-Chairman ABM Ruhul Amin Howladar, Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu, Member of Parliament Kazi Firoz Rashid, Presidium Member Mostafa Al Mahmud, were also present. Later, GM Quader and Jatiya Party leaders addressed the bi-annual conference of the district Jatiya Party at Shaheed Minar premises in the Chawkbazar center of the town. Also Read: Assault on on-duty journalists an unpardonable crime: GM Quader
Information and Broadcasting Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmud today said that BNP has instructed Jamaat-e-Islami to give statement about resisting the upcoming national election. “The statements made during Jamaat's recent rally reflect BNP's stance. They advocated for resisting the national election, similar to what occurred in 2014 when many people lost their lives in violent clashes. Jamaat is the main partner of the BNP-led coalition, and the directive to resist the election came from BNP itself,” he said while addressing the media at the Ministry of Information's conference room in the Secretariat on Sunday. Also Read: Jamaat holds first rally after a decade, demands polls under caretaker govt He further said, “The people of Bangladesh will not allow a recurrence of the events that took place in 2013, 2014, and 2015. The intentions behind their recent statement were made evident. It is necessary to address this situation.” Responding to questions regarding allowing Jamaat to hold a rally, Mahmud said, “As Jamaat has not yet been banned and has applied for permission for the rally as a political party, they were granted permission.” “Every political party has the right to hold rallies, as long as they are not banned. Any political party's ability to hold meetings is not restricted unless they face a ban,” the minister said. Also Read: BNP behind Jamaat’s protest, meaning they are preparing for arson: Quader Mahmud further explained, “We encourage the participation of all political parties in the election. The electoral process extends beyond the election day itself. With only six months remaining until the election, it is customary for political parties to hold meetings in order to create a conducive environment.” Also Read: Jamaat gets permission to hold rally at Engineers Institute He continued: “Various political parties are currently organizing meetings, but BNP and Jamaat's motives differ. By reviewing their past actions and interpreting their recent statements, it is evident that they are attempting to replicate past events. However, the people of this nation will not tolerate such actions.” Also Read: Hasan Mahmud blames BNP's 'destructive politics' for US visa policy
The United States has reiterated its call for holding a free and fair election in Bangladesh. “We’ve been consistent on the need for Bangladesh to hold free and fair elections,” said National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby at a media briefing at the White House. Kirby made the remarks when his attention was drawn to the much-discussed letter from six congressmen to US President Joe Biden, seeking measures for a free and fair election in Bangladesh. Read: US calls upcoming national election an 'internal' affair of Bangladesh “Look, we’ve been consistent, and I’m aware of the communication,” Kirby said. To demonstrate that commitment, he said, the State Department recently announced a “3C” visa policy that would restrict visas to individuals who “undermine” Bangladesh’s elections. On Monday, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said there are many “exaggerations, lack of information and inconsistency” in the letter from the six US congressmen to President Biden. Read: US doesn’t endorse one political party over another in Bangladesh: State Department “But constructively, we will reach out to all these members,” he told reporters while responding to a question, noting that such activities might increase in the coming days as the election nears. Talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam said they saw such letters in the past, too. Read: Exaggeration, inconsistency in Congressmen’s letter: Shahriar Alam “Over the last seven days, I tried my best to explain where the relationship between Bangladesh and the United States stands today,” he said, adding that propaganda and misinformation against the government was also there earlier.