12:00 AM, September 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:48 AM, September 11, 2018

Forging Unity: BNP to pledge reforms, checks and balances

For forging a greater unity, the BNP wants to negotiate with potential partners promising them that if voted to power, it would implement a set of reforms, including putting in place “realistic checks and balances”.

The absence of effective checks and balances led to the executive branch gradually becoming all too powerful, it said.

Checks and balances is a principle of government under which separate branches are empowered to prevent actions by other branches and are induced to share power. They are of fundamental importance in tripartite governments, such as that of the United States, which separate powers among legislative, executive, and judicial branches.

Party leaders think proper checks and balances is a must to stop the “unbridled power of the government”.

They drafted a 15-point proposal to be sent to other political parties for consideration, said BNP insiders.

With these, the BNP would start talks with potential partners like Gono Forum, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD and Nagorik Oikya.

In the draft proposal, the party promises to free the administration from politicisation and ensure independence and power of the judiciary through transparent appointment process. The draft promises reforms in institutions for preventing corruption and ensuring good governance.

Some of the proposals are related to pre-election demands. Releasing jailed Khaleda Zia, dissolving the parliament before the election schedule is announced, forming election-time neutral government in consultation with all political parties, reforming the Election Commission based on consensus, deploying the army during the polls with magistracy power, and deploying local and international observers to ensure transparency in the elections are among the proposals, BNP insiders said.

The BNP standing committee members finalised the draft after holding a series of meetings and in consultation with party's acting chairman Tarique Rahman.

Leaders of the BNP and other political parties said the like-minded parties had agreed on some of the basic issues. The election should be held under a non-partisan interim administration is one of them.

Sources said the BNP is preparing to run in the polls to be held in December and forging a greater unity was part of the groundwork even though it has not publicly cleared its stance on contesting the elections. 

It wants to unite other parties, excluding ruling Awami League, that would raise their voices on common issues.

“The process has just started and it is still in the initial stage. We have said that to forge a national unity, small interests should be sacrificed for greater interests of the country and we are ready to do that,” Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, secretary general of the BNP, told The Daily Star yesterday.

Fakhrul refused to comment further.

The Jukto Front alliance, led by Bikalpadhara Bangladesh and comprised of ASM Abdur Rob's Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal-JSD and Mahmudur Rahman Manna's Nagorik Oikya, and Gono Forum President Dr Kamal Hossain has said they would work together for greater unity.

“We have placed seven proposals to the BNP and the party agreed on five points but is yet to make clear its position on two points – checks and balances and ties with anti-liberation forces,” Mahi B Chowdhury, a leader of the Jukto Front, told The Daily Star.

Mahi said the BNP had indicated that it was ready to share 100 seats with them but the BNP was yet to decide on its position on Jamaat.

Dr Kamal, who had left the Awami League in the 80s, said his only point is that the country is run in the light of the constitution and all have to come forward with an open mind.

"We do not want to make the process complicated. We are holding meetings regularly. We are not discussing about seat sharing as it is not our agenda. We hope that the greater unity will be formed soon,” he said.