40 eminent citizens call for fresh polls, JS dissolution

Staff Reporter  :
Country’s 40 distinguished citizens have called upon the government and the Election Commission to hold a fresh parliamentary election, ensuring the participation of all parties and creating level playing field for fair competition.

In a joint statement issued by Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik on Sunday, they have urged for the cancellation of the election schedule and proposed that the National Parliament should be dissolved in the third week of January, and within the subsequent 90 days, elections should be conducted, as specified in Article 123(3)(b) of the Constitution.

By adopting this initiative, during the election period, the government can engage in dialogue with opposing parties, reach agreements, ensure the immediate release or provision of bail for opposition leaders and activists, and announce new details through proper channels, the statement said.

This will provide sufficient time and opportunities for organizing a fair, impartial, and competitive election, it added.

Expressing concern, it also said that the government and the Election Commission are taking various steps towards a one-sided election, scheduled for January 7.

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Leading up to this election, there have been instances of arrests, the indiscriminate filing of cases, controversial legal proceedings resulting in punishment, and even the exclusion of leaders and activists from opposing parties through coercive measures.

The statement mentions that only candidates nominated by the
ruling party and those of its allied parties are eligible to participate in the January 7 election.

As a result, the citizens of Bangladesh will be deprived of choosing a true alternative in this election, and determining genuine representation through the election will become impossible, it added.

Referring to the experiences of the two previous elections, the statement highlights that such controlled elections lead to a decline in the accountability of the government, national institutions become subservient to the party-led government, economic management collapses, and the rule of law and good governance are severely compromised.

The joint statement was signed by human rights activist Hamida Hossain, former Chief Adviser to the government and Chairman of Shujan M Hafizuddin Khan, former Cabinet Secretary Ali Imam Majumdar, retired Justice of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court M. Abdul Matin, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank Salehuddin Ahmed, Vice-Chancellor of Central Women’s University Parveen Hasan, former Election Commissioner M. Sakhawat Hossain, retired Professor Anu Muhammad of Jahangirnagar University, filmmaker Shahidul Alam, Professor C.R. Abrar, Professor Asif Nazrul, Shahanaz Huda, and Robayet Ferdous.