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7 July, 2018 01:02:49 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 7 July, 2018 03:37:31 AM
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AL still undecided on seat sharing

next general elections
ABU JAKIR
AL still undecided on seat sharing

With the 11th parliamentary elections just five months away, the ruling Awami League (AL) is still undecided on its strategy: whether to contest the next polls unilaterally or under the banner of the Grand Alliance. Despite pressure from alliance members, the AL is yet to give them any indication over the distribution of parliamentary seats. Insiders say the party is unable to choose a strategy as the decision would depend heavily on the BNP’s participation in the next general elections.

Senior AL leaders said if the BNP takes part in the next polls, the AL is certain to contest under the umbrella of the Grand Alliance. However, if the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) decides to boycott the elections, the AL would put candidates in all 300 constituencies, asking alliance members to independently contest the elections, with a possible covert understanding on the sharing of seats.

They also said the next polls would not be like the January 5 elections, where a total of 153 MPs were elected uncontested and 127 of them were from the ruling AL. The polls were boycotted by the major political parties, including the BNP and the Jamaat.

Earlier, AL president and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has already announced that the 11th parliamentary elections will be held in December and the Election Commission (EC) recently said it will announce the schedule in October.

Meanwhile, BNP sources said the party would not take part in the next polls without its chief Khaleda Zia and its acting chairman Tarique Rahman: former prime minister Khaleda Zia, who was sentenced to jail for five years in connection with a graft case, and her son Tarique Rahman, who has been living in London since 2008.

BNP standing committee member Nazrul Islam Khan said the government was conspiring to keep the BNP away from the next polls. “But we want to make it clear that the BNP will not participate in the next polls if Khaleda is kept in jail,” he added.

The BNP leaders have also said that the party would decide whether or not to join the next polls after the three city corporation elections.

Under these circumstances, the ruling party is mulling over whether to join the 11th parliamentary polls unilaterally or under the banner of the Grand Alliance.

According to leaders of the ruling party, if the BNP participates in the election, the AL would “sacrifice a small number of seats” for its alliance partners. Otherwise, the AL would share “more seats” with its allies.

Talking to The Independent, senior AL presidium member and the coordinator of the 14-Party Alliance, Mohammad Nasim, said, “We are yet to sit with our alliance partners over the sharing of parliamentary seats. However, we will sit with the alliance partners soon for settling the issue.”

Nasim, also the health minister, said, “I hope the BNP will join the next polls this time, and we are making preparations to contest the polls under the banner of the Grand Alliance. In that case, we’ll distribute nomination papers among the aspirants for the MPs’ posts based on their popularity.”

“Yes, we will consider the logical demand of the partners to preclude any controversy in the alliance ahead of the next parliamentary polls,” he added.

AL joint general secretary Abdur Rahman said they are yet to talk to the alliance partners about seat- sharing.

Responding to a query, he said they were waiting for the BNP's decision on participation in the upcoming polls and conducting surveys with the help of local and foreign firms to choose popular candidates.

However, the eight components of the Grand Alliance want nearly 200 parliamentary seats in the next polls.

Among the Grand Alliance partners, the Jatiya Party wants 70 seats, Workers Party of Bangladesh 30–40, two factions of Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JSD)

at least 20, Bangladesh Tarikat Federation 30, Shamyabadi Dal 4–5, Ganatantri Party

10–12, Gana Azadi League 5–6, National Awami

Party (NAP) 20–25 and Communist Kendro

and Gonotantrik Majdur Party want one seat each while contesting the next polls.

The AL had won the national elections in 2008 under the banner of the Grand Alliance,

which is considered by the party to be its “electoral alliance”.


IK

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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