Khaleda disagrees with EU’s no polls boycott proposal

A nine-member delegation of the European Union met BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia this evening

A nine-member delegation of the European Union met BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia this evening

Opposition Leader and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia has apparently disagreed with the European Union’s proposal of not boycotting the next parliamentary elections and refraining from hartal. “If the election is not acceptable, what is the point of taking part in it? The people of Bangladesh must have the confidence that the election results are acceptable,” BNP Vice-Chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury on Thursday told reporters, quoting Khaleda, after an EU delegation’s meeting with her. EU Ambassador in Dhaka William Hanna who led the delegation to Khaleda’s Gulshan office said: “In our messages today to the opposition leader, we stressed the need to avoid a boycott of elections and disruption of public life.” Hanna said the next few weeks would be very critical for democracy in Bangladesh. He urged the opposition to refrain from further hartals which, he said, were jeopardising the country’s growth. Quoting Khaleda, Shamsher said: “The BNP will continue democratically and constitutionally accepted peaceful movement to fulfil the demand of the people to have an acceptable election.” The EU ambassador said they would also request a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He said they encouraged a political solution through dialogue and opposed violence and said they were ready to facilitate transparent, inclusive and credible elections. “We stand ready to deploy an election observation mission. We hope that the elections will produce a sustainable outcome, which will be acceptable to all the main political forces,” Hanna said. Hanna also urged the BNP and its alliance partners to condemn political violence and refrain from such violence before, during and after the election. Shamsher later said Khaleda condemned all sorts of violence and said her party was ready to hold a dialogue at the level of secretary general. Swedish Ambassador Anneli Lindahl Kenny, Spanish Ambassador Luis Tejada Chacón, British High Commissioner Robert Gibson, French Ambassador Michel Trinquier, Dutch Ambassador Gerben Sjoerd de Jong, German Ambassador Albrecht Conze and Danish Ambassador Hanne Fugl Eskjær were present at the meeting with Khaleda.

Source: Dhaka Tribune