Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

No need for dialogue before election; system needs to follow: Momen

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said there is no need to hold political dialogue with the opposition BNP before the next general election and suggested that they follow the system that is in place in the election process.  

“Why do you need a dialogue? Is it to come (to power) through the backdoor? No way. There is no need for discussion as there is a system and they (opposition parties including BNP) should come forward who are willing to take part in the election,” he told Voice of America Bangla service in an exclusive interview during last week’s US visit.

Momen made a counter question to VoA journalists – “Do the Democratic Party and the Republican Party or other parties discuss before the election? No, never. Because, there is a system. They do follow the system.”

The foreign minister said, “Those whom you are referring to began their journey through guns. They believe in guns not in ballots.”

Momen said his party – Bangladesh Awami League – has trust in the people and that is why they want a “free, fair, transparent and credible election.” “Because we believe in people. We want a model election.”

 The foreign minister said Bangladesh is the country where 30 lakh people sacrificed their lives to uphold justice, democracy, human dignity and human rights. “In each of our blood, democracy is there with the right to vote.”

The United States has reiterated its desire to see a free and fair election in Bangladesh, noting that the world will be observing Bangladesh’s next national election.

“Of course, we’re looking – the world is looking – to Bangladesh for its next election, to make sure that they set a strong example of free and fair election for the region and for the world,” US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken said during his meeting with Momen on April 10..

“I agree with Secretary Blinken. I am so happy that he also wants a model election which can be portrayed in the rest of the world. I want, too and we seek support from all,” Momen told VoA Bangla service

To have a fair election, Momen said all parties should demonstrate sincerity and political commitment.

He said his party – AL – always came to power through election and never through coup or bullet. “Others are not even close to us in terms of the level of sincerity and commitment we have for democracy.”  

Momen said the BNP should participate in the election if they believe in democracy. He mentioned that the BNP boycotted elections in the past and carried out destructive activities to halt elections. “We don’t want to see that situation again.”

Momen said he requested Secretary Blinken to send election observers as many as possible but they should be independent and must not be Bangladesh origin to avoid partisan observers.

“We have nothing to hide. Because we have done an excellent job over the last 14 years and we are convinced that people will vote for us in spite of stories being cooked up and people will not believe those stories,” he said.