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Experts: Talks may help minimize tensions ahead of polls

  • Published at 01:59 am October 30th, 2018
2018 General election graphic

They are considering the move as a timely decision and a positive sign ahead of the polls, which the Election Commission plans to organize in the last week of December

Electoral experts have welcomed the ruling Awami League’s move to hold a dialogue with newly formed coalition Jatiya Oikya Front, saying this may help minimize prevailing tensions ahead of the 11th general election.

They are considering the move as a timely decision and a positive sign ahead of the polls, which the Election Commission plans to organize in the last week of December.

In the past several years, the ruling party had always rejected the calls for talks from major opposition BNP, which is now a key member in Oikya Front.

But now, even though their Chairperson Khaleda Zia is in jail, BNP leaders have a chance to sit with Hasina and other top Awami League leaders.

Senior journalist and political commentator Afsan Chowdhury said that the prevailing conflicting state in the country’s political arena might ease out through the dialogue.

“Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina welcoming Dr Kamal Hossain’s call for a dialogue reflects valuing public opinion, because a dialogue is a timely demand,” he told the Dhaka Tribune on Monday.

“Issues like BNP’s demands and their participation in the polls and imprisonment of eminent persons have created public disinterest. The dialogue is expected to ease this uncomfortable situation,” he added.

Afsan said that the dialogue might also reduce tension among people that was created by the arrest of Oikya Front leader Mainul Hosein and multiple cases against Gonoshashthya Kendra Founder Zafrullah Chowdhury.


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“BNP and Awami League are always in conflict, but Dr Kamal has no conflict with anyone. The dialogue, which will open up an avenue for BNP as well, is a good sign.

Just three months ago, he added, Awami League strongly rejected any dialogue with BNP.

Dhaka University law Professor Asif Nazrul also thinks the dialogue is a positive sign as it can be considered as the beginning of discussions between political parties right before the national polls.

“Even if all of BNP’s demands are not met during the talks, this will surely help the parties to come to a consensus on some issues. A fair and credible election is possible through dialogue,” he added.

Prof Dilara Chowdhury, teacher of Jahangirnagar University’s government and politics department, also welcomed the ruling party’s move.

“This is a time-befitting decision,” she said.