It is the solemn responsibility of the opposition to participate in the polls and to give the Bangladeshi people the chance to vote
The opposition’s assurance that they will be participating in the upcoming parliamentary elections is very welcome.
This stands in stark contrast to the situation five years ago, when the opposition boycotted the polls, thereby abdicating their responsibility to the people of Bangladesh.
There will doubtless be many issues and causes of concern in the run up to the election -- here always are -- and the opposition may well feel aggrieved for one reason or another. Indeed, this is to be expected, and no election anywhere in the world can be expected to be free of complaint.
However, be that as it may, this should not be construed as an excuse for any side to refuse to participate.
At the end of the day, it is the solemn responsibility of the opposition to participate in the polls and to give the Bangladeshi people the chance to vote in a meaningful election. Under no circumstances is it acceptable for them to boycott the upcoming elections, especially given their stance five years ago.
We are gratified therefore that, this time round, the opposition has made a categorical commitment to participate, and together with the dialogues that have been going on between ruling party and opposition over the past few weeks, we hope that this is a sign of political maturity and of Bangladesh moving towards a more healthy politics that the Bangladeshi people deserve.
In the coming weeks, it is crucial that all parties understand that elections are held for the people, and not for the political parties. Boycotting an election deprives the electorate of their constitutional right to participate in an election. The decision whether to take part in an election should belong to the voters and not to the political parties.
The voters’ wishes must be respected and their democratic rights must be upheld.
By the same token, the Election Commission has a crucial role to play in this regard, in ensuring that fairness remains the name of the game in the upcoming elections and that candidates compete on a level playing field.
Bangladesh has come a long way since its independence 47 years ago, and it is only through adhering to the democratic process that we as a nation have flourished.
The opposition’s participation in the upcoming elections is definitely good for democracy and good for the people of Bangladesh, and we very much hope that they will be true to their word.