Bangladesh’s electoral talks end inconclusive

October 14th, 2008 - 9:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Oct 14 (DPA) The electoral talks between Bangladesh’s military-backed government and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) ended inconclusive Tuesday with both sides stressing for further talks to settle their disagreements.Both sides underscored the need to holding the Dec 18 election in a free, fair and credible manner, but failed to make any consensus on condition that the party proposed for a competitive election, including lifting of the state of emergency.

BNP leader, former prime minister Khaleda Zia, proposed a seven-point charter, including withdrawal of false cases against its top party leaders and scrapping of the package of electoral reforms that the government has approved, at the three-hour meeting.

Bangladesh’s chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed led a five-member official delegation, while BNP’s General Secretary Khaldaker Delwar Hossain led the party at the dialogue, the process of which was begun in late May 2008 for a smooth transition to democracy.

The government held talks with at least 38 groups - businessmen and civic groups besides the political parties - to create a consensus on certain national issues as the country was sharply divided into politics of Khaleda Zia’s BNP and another former prime minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed’s Awami League party.

Both the leaders are charged with corruption and now released on bail and parole respectively from jail after nearly one year of detention.

Delwar asked for a complete lifting of the state of emergency before polls to ensure an atmosphere for fair polls, while the government argued for the security of the voters during the polls as they defended keeping the state of emergency in force.

“We think the implementation of our proposals will help create an atmosphere conducive for a fair election,” BNP’s Hossain told a joint press briefing after the talks, adding that more talks are needed to come to a conclusion.

A key adviser to the caretaker administration, Hossain Zillur Rahman, however, said it was important to ensure the voters’ security beside arrangements for political campaign during the election.

“We will try to iron out both the matters in next round of talks with the BNP,” he said adding that the government will also hold a meeting with the Awami League, the other major political force of the country.

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