“Hasina will be the interim head”: AL

The Awami League is in no mood to accept the Opposition demand for a caretaker administration and says Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will head a transitional government during the polls.

Party leaders said the arrangements will be in keeping with the 15th Constitutional Amendment.

Several divisional and organising secretaries attending the Awami League working committee confirmed to bdnews24.com that the decision on a transitional government has been unanimously agreed at its meeting in the Ganabhaban on Friday.

Everyone in the meeting agreed that Hasina should stay at the helm of the government.

In line with the 15th Amendment, the parliamentary elections will be held under a party-led administration, which the opposition asserts will not be ‘free and fair’.

Elected representatives or lawmakers will form that interim government and if the opposition wants, it too can have a say, the Awami League leaders said.

The 18-Party alliance that BNP heads has been threatening to stay away from the balloting unless the government agrees for a non-party interim government to oversee the polls.

The government has invited the opposition to dialogues to iron out differences over the parliamentary polls, but the BNP and its allies have set restoration of the caretaker system as one of the pre-conditions.

Opposition chief Khaleda Zia has turned down Hasina’s dialogues offer and threatened tougher anti-government movements.

Hasina has reiterated that the caretaker provision will not be restored in any way. However, she said she had no reservations about an all-party election cabinet.

Amid the standoff, a Bengali-language daily claimed that the BNP had no issues with an all-party government but it would not want the Prime Minister at the helm.

At a meeting on Thursday, Hasina cleared her own stance on the issue saying she had no plans to revive the unelected caretakers.

It is the Awami League that made the Khaleda administration to introduce the caretaker provision in 1996. Eleven years later, at the end of then BNP-Jamaat-e-Islami coalition government’s tenure, a military-installed caretaker government took over.

The administration ran the country for nearly two years despite a three-month constitutional mandate and threw Hasina and Khaleda behind bars and allegedly tried to exile them from politics.

The bitter memories prompted the Hasina administration to seal the door for unelected people to go to power.

Amid the imbroglio, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has pushed for fast dialogues. In a letter conveying ‘strong message’ he stressed the urgency of a ‘more meaningful and constructive’ political dialogue.

He sent UN Assistant Secretary General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco down to Bangladesh to mount pressure for talks between the leading political parties to end the damaging political confrontation.

Source: BDNews24