Jatiya Party to boycott Bangladesh election

Dhaka, Dec 3 : Former Bangladesh president Hussain Muhammad Ershad announced here Tuesday his Jaitya Party too would boycot next month's general elections, dealing a huge blow to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's Awami League (AL)-led ruling alliance, of which it was a key partner.

"There exists no proper environment for the polls," Ershad, a former army chief who ruled Bangladesh from 1982 to 1990, said, adding: "We will not participate in the upcoming elections," as most opposition parties had decided to stay away.

His announcement came a day after the deadline for submitting nomination papers for the 10th parliamentary election expired.

Ershad said the decision was also taken considering that most political parties including those in the main opposition alliance were not taking part in the election.

The Jatiya Party is the third largest after the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). It quit the AL-led alliance last month to join the polls-time interim cabinet.

Earlier, all ministers decided to form an all-party interim government headed by Hasina.

Despite the opposition threat to boycott, the Bangladesh Election Commission announced that the country's 10th parliamentary election will be held on Jan 5, 2014.

To protest against the poll schedule, the BNP enforced a series of countrywide road, and railway blockade since Nov. 26.

No candidate from former prime minister Khaleda Zia's BNP and its 17 allies including Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party has submitted nomination paper. The deadline for submission of nomination papers was Dec. 2.

"BNP-led main opposition alliance will boycott the general elections organised by Hasina's government," said a senior party leader.

Zia has asked Hasina to bring back a non-party caretaker system, or else the opposition won't participate in the next election because it fears an election without the non-party caretaker government will not be free and fair.

--IANS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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