The 12th parliamentary election is likely to be held in December as suggested by the Election Commission, according to Awami League leader Obaidul Quader.
He called on ruling party leaders and activists to prepare for the election and to stay alert to the threat of 'rumours' surrounding the polls at a meeting of Awami League affiliates on Friday.
“We’re about to complete a five-year term and hopefully, as the Election Commission suggests, Bangladesh will hold the national election in December,” he said.
The Election Commission is yet to announce a tentative date for the election, but constitutional rules stipulate that the election must take place within 90 days before the end of the current parliament's tenure.
The 11th parliament will be dissolved on Jan 29, 2024, as its first session started on Jan 30, 2019. That means voting must take place between Nov 2, 2023 and Jan 29, 2024.
The government will not intervene in the election, said Quader. “The Sheikh Hasina administration will only perform its routine tasks and fully assist the Election Commission to organise a fair election."
Quader also advised the leaders and activists to stay vigilant against the spread of rumours before the election. “We’ve now embarked on a journey towards an election. Usually in Bangladeshi politics, tensions and rumours begin to spread before an election.”
He also spoke about the BNP’s antigovernment programmes in the lead-up to the election. “The Awami League always considers the BNP as its political rival, but it [the BNP] considers us as an enemy. Whatever programme we stage, some media houses term it ‘reciprocal’. The BNP calls it reciprocal but we don’t hold our meetings and rallies to counter theirs,” he said.
"People noticed that we have held only peaceful rallies to highlight the violence and arson committed by the BNP. We’ll continue with our peaceful rallies.”