The Awami League will oppose any move to hold the upcoming general elections under the state of emergency and the delimitation of constituencies before the polls in its second phase of dialogue with the Election Commission, scheduled for February 25.
The senior leaders of the party discussed the overall situation of the country at an informal meeting held at the Gulshan residence of acting president Zillur Rahman on Saturday morning, and decided to hold a presidium meeting on February 22 and central working committee meeting on February 24 to finalise the proposals for the dialogue, said meeting sources.
They expressed concern over the remarks of the law adviser over holding the polls under the state of emergency and decided to oppose any such move during the talks with the EC and the proposed dialogue between the government and political parties, the meeting sources said.
The law, justice and parliamentary affairs adviser, AF Hassan Ariff, at a press briefing on Thursday said, ‘The Emergency Powers Rules need to be relaxed for holding the elections as it hinders the election process.’ But he also opined that there was no constitutional bar on holding elections under the emergency.
‘The comment shocked and astonished us,’ Zillur Rahman told reporters after the informal talks, adding that the AL had not expected such a comment from a person who has been trained in law.
He also said that holding elections under the emergency was unexpected not only to the AL but to everyone as well.
‘The chief adviser, the chief election commissioner and even the army chief assured us several times that the emergency would be lifted in phases before the polls. We oppose any move to hold elections under the state of emergency,’ AL presidium member Amir Hossain Amu told E-Bangladesh Correspondent after the meeting.
He iterated that the AL would oppose any such move during the dialogues with the Election Commission and the government.
‘We will oppose the Election Commission’s move for delimiting the constituencies before the upcoming polls as the decision has created a lot of controversy,’ said AL presidium member Tofail Ahmed after the meeting.
Another presidium member, Matia Chowdhury, told E-Bangladesh that the AL leaders during the informal meeting discussed the party’s preparations for the second phase of dialogue with the EC and the party’s position on the unsettled issues proposed by the EC in the reform proposals.
‘We have accepted about eighty per cent of the Election Commission’s reform proposals as they were similar to the 31-point reform proposals of 14-party alliance. We will try to narrow down the remaining gap between the Awami League and the EC on the unsettled issues,’ said Matia after the meeting.
Meeting sources said that the AL would not oppose the proposal for registration of political parties, but the registration process must be simplified.
Tofail Ahmed told the leaders that the Election Commissioner had requested the AL that the delegation should not have more than five members, but Zillur Rahman had asked Tofail to tell the EC that all the presidium members should be included in the delegation, said sources.
The AL also decided to hold a meeting with the Ganatantri Party on Monday as a part of the inter-party talks between the AL and the components of the alliance, aimed at submitting identical proposals during the dialogue with the EC and the government.
Presidium members Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury and Kazi Zafar Ullah were also present at the meeting, along with others