Bangladesh election to be held on December 23

The Election Commission head said he hoped all parties would participate in the polls, in which PM Hasina seeks to get re-elected

By Reuters in Dhaka
  • Published 9.11.18, 1:45 AM
  • Updated 9.11.18, 10:02 AM
  • a min read
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Sheikh Hasina. Telegraph file picture

Bangladesh’s Chief Election Commissioner said on Thursday that the South Asian nation would hold a general election on December 23, and vowed that the Election Commission would ensure a free and fair election.

K.M. Nurul Huda, the head of the Election Commission, said he hoped all parties will participate in the election, in which Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking to get re-elected.

“A favourable situation prevails in the country to hold a free and fair election,” Huda said during a nationwide address aired by state-run television and radio stations, adding almost all preparations for an election were already complete.

While Hasina’s government has won widespread global plaudits for letting in hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled persecution in Myanmar, its critics have decried Hasina’s increasingly authoritarian rule, the government’s handling of student protests this year and its crackdown on free speech.

“I urge political parties to participate in the election to make it meaningful,” said Huda, adding that if parties have any differences of opinion they should resolve these via talks, but not boycott the elections. It is still not immediately clear whether the BNP plans to contest the elections. BNP boycotted the last election in 2014 that was marred by deadly violence and shunned by international observers as flawed.

Following Huda’s announcement, BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said his party and its allies were still deliberating whether to participate. He said the BNP had asked the commission to defer the vote, but that its wishes had not been met.