BNP turns down EC’s invitation to talks ahead of national election

No discussion or dialogue will be effective unless a non-partisan election-time administration is installed, Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir says

Published : 29 March 2023, 09:42 AM
Updated : 29 March 2023, 09:42 AM

The BNP has officially rejected the Election Commission’s invitation to a fresh dialogue ahead of the next parliamentary polls.

No talks will be effective unless a non-partisan election-time caretaker system, the party’s key demand, is revived, said BNP’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir declaring the party’s decision at a media briefing at Khaleda Zia's Gulshan office on Wednesday.

“National elections in 2014 and 2018 have proven that the Election Commission is not independent. The commission does not have the leeway to hold a free, fair and impartial election, even if it wants to.”

“The BNP is not in a position to accept the commission’s invitation to dialogue as there is no possibility of resolving the key political issue,” Fakhrul said, thanking Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Habibul Awal for his letter inviting the party to fresh talks.

On Tuesday, the BNP finalised its decision at a meeting of the party’s standing committee, chaired by its acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.

Fakhrul said the BNP will not send a separate letter to the EC as the party has announced its decision from the media briefing. He hopes the commission will accept the party’s opinion.

The EC invited the BNP to a fresh dialogue by sending a letter to Fakhrul on Mar 23 as the opposition party has been refusing to sit with the current EC for talks.

The Kazi Habibul Awal-led EC has held several rounds of talks with the political parties since it took charge in early 2022.

The BNP and its allies did not join the dialogue, reiterating their demand for the resignation of the Awami League government and the installation of a caretaker administration.

CEC Awal had said they did not have the authority to decide on an election-time government and would continue calling for talks with the BNP and its allies.

The ruling party said the polls would be held under the Awami League government as the constitution does not allow an un-elected administration in power.