Hasina hints at polls in Bangladesh before January 24
Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday hinted that Bangladesh`s next general election could be held at any time in the three-month period before the term of Parliament ends on January 24.
During at a meeting with top bureaucrats, Hasina was quoted by local media reports as saying that the polls could be held in the 90-day period from October 27 to January 24.
She said Parliament will remain effective during the three-month period but no session will be held. The cabinet will not take any policy decision during this period, she said.
Briefing media after the meeting, Cabinet Secretary Mosharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said according to the Constitution, the election would be held in the three-month period before the end of the term of Parliament.
Hasina`s remarks are significant because the ruling Awami League has done away with the provision of holding polls under a neutral caretaker set-up while the main opposition BNP has been demanding the restoration of the system.
The Prime Minister asked the top bureaucrats to be ready to perform their responsibilities during the crucial three-month period and to work for the continuation of the democratic and development processes.
Analysts fear there could be violence in the run up to the election as the Awami League has no intention of reviving the caretaker system, which was scrapped after a constitutional amendment in 2011 on the basis of a High Court ruling.
The Awami League scrapped the system, introduced in 1996, saying that it had proved counter-productive, particularly after the installation of an Army-backed interim government.
The Army intervened to install an interim set-up that ruled during 2006-2008 under emergency provisions.
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