Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday said the next national election will be a challenging one as Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) will certainly participate in the polls.
“They (BNP) will join the next parliamentary polls. So, go to people from right now and stand by them to win their hearts as assuming office for the consecutive third term will be tough one,” a source said quoting the premier.
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of the ruling Awami League, made the comments during a meeting of the AL Parliamentary Party at Parliament Secretariat.
“Continuation of the government for another term is a must to keep pace of the country’s ongoing development activities,” she said.
The BNP boycotted the January 5, 2014 election as then AL government did not accept its demand for holding the polls under a neutral administration.
BNP leaders have been issuing a threat to foil the next polls, if it is not held under a neutral administration and party chief Khaleda Zia, who has been in jail on corruption charges, is not freed.
Sheikh Hasina also directed the AL lawmakers to end the internal conflicts in their areas ahead of the next parliamentary elections likely to be held in December.
“I do not want any kind of internal conflicts your areas before the polls. If the Awami League remains united, no one can defeat us,” she said.
The premier said the Election Commission (EC) is likely to announce the polls schedule in October.
“After the announcement of the polls schedule, we will start preparations for fielding our party candidates,” she added.
The AL president also warned that she will not give nomination to those who do not have people’s support.
She said a survey is under way to select party candidates for the next election.
“Party ticket will be given based on the opinions of the grass roots and the survey report. Those, who don’t have people’s support, will not be given party ticket,” she said.
The Leader of the House directed all the lawmakers to remain present in parliament on July 8 as the government will bring the 17th amendment to the constitution to extend the duration of reserved seat lawmakers system.
“You have to be present in the House and cast votes in favour of the amendment,” she said.
The government on April 10 placed the ‘Constitution (Seventeenth Amendment) Bill 2018 before the House aiming to extend the duration of reserved seat lawmakers for 25 years from the first session of the next 11th parliament.
According to the Article 65 (3) of the constitution, 50 seats will be kept reserved exclusively for women in parliament for 10 years from the first meeting of parliament after the one that passed the 14th constitutional amendment in 2004.
Accordingly, the first meeting of a new parliament in 2009, which meant the seats for women, will expire next year as per the existing article.
The incumbent 10th parliament has 350 members -- 300 elected in general elections and 50 MPs from the women’s reserved seats.
In 2004, the government brought the 14th Amendment to the constitution to introduce the reserved seats and distribute them among the parties with proportionate representation.
The number of reserved seats was increased from 45 to 50 through the 15th constitutional amendment in 2011, but the amendment did not extend the term of the quota.