BNP leaders to take oath, attend parliament (Lead)

January 8th, 2009 - 4:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Jan 8 (IANS) Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) leaders led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia have decided to take oath and join the first session of the country’s ninth parliament for the “sake of democracy”. The decision to move on after the poll debacle of last week was taken late Wednesday. It may remain symbolic as the BNP MPs may attend only the first day’s proceedings of the ninth parliament when it is convened, the Daily Star said Thursday.

“We shall join the first session of the parliament for the sake of democracy, the country’s interest, and to continue the democratic process,” Salahuddin Quader Chowdhury, a senior party leader and an MP-elect, told journalists after a two-hour meeting of the BNP’s parliamentary party chaired by Zia.

He said: “We are pledging that we will do whatever necessary to keep the government accountable to parliament.”

He said the party would consider Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s proposal to have the deputy speaker of the house from the opposition if there was a formal offer.

Chowdhury emphasised that the government must create the necessary environment for the opposition’s proper role in the parliament.

BNP won 29 of the 299 seats in the Dec 29, 2008 election, including three won by Zia, of which she must give up two.

The Awami League led by Hasina bagged 230 seats and formed the government Tuesday.

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