I won't budge | The Daily Star
12:46 AM, August 19, 2013 / LAST MODIFIED: 10:42 AM, August 19, 2013

I won't budge

Hasina vows again on polls as per constitution

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has yet again said the next general election would be held as per the constitutional provisions.
"Everything will take place according to the constitution. I will not budge an inch on this,” she told a press conference at the Gono Bhaban yesterday.
Rejecting the opposition's demand for the restoration of the caretaker government system, the prime minister said, "I want to assure the people that the parliamentary elections will be held in time as per the constitution."
Asked if parliament would be dissolved before the election as she had earlier announced and if her cabinet would have any limitation on its functions during election time, she suggested this correspondent read the constitution.
As per the constitutional provisions introduced in 2011 by the present government, the parliamentary election will be held within 90 days before the expiry of the Jatiya Sangsad's tenure.
This means MPs will remain in office while seeking re-election if parliament is not dissolved before the 90-day deadline. If parliament is dissolved before the 90-day deadline, the election will be held within the next 90 days.
The incumbent prime minister and her council of ministers will be in office during the general election, and there will be no lmitation on their functions.
Hasina, also president of the AL, said her party believed in peaceful handover of power through a free and fair election contested by all political parties.
"I hope democratic political parties will move towards elections, shunning the path of anarchy," she said without referring to the BNP-led opposition alliance's threat to wage street agitation and boycott the polls.
She reacted sharply to a query whether her government would move to amend the constitution again on consensus to install a polls-time government.
“Do you want an unconstitutional government again? Do you want martial law? How come you have forgotten what happened in 2007 and 2008?
"We want to take you to light, but you want to slide back to darkness. If that's what you want, I have nothing to say or do."
Hasina also blasted the opposition BNP for its demand for the restoration of the caretaker government system.
She said the Supreme Court had termed the caretaker government system illegal and the House passed the 15th amendment abolishing the provision.
“So, why inviting trouble to public life by agitating for restoring the provision?”
She also observed that demanding the restoration of the caretaker system was tantamount to disregarding the judgment of the higher court.
Urging everyone to respect the constitution, Hasina said, “The constitution didn't come out of the blue. We got it through much sacrifice during the War of Independence.”
When a journalist referred to BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir's remark that the country's future would become uncertain if the ninth parliament was dissolved by October 25, Hasina said such fear was unfounded.
“There will be no constitutional crisis. But they [the opposition] want it to happen. They want to create a constitutional crisis,” she alleged.
Mentioning that 5,723 elections to different local government bodies and by-polls were held during her government's tenure to elect 63,941 public representatives, the premier told the journalists, “You couldn't say anything against those elections.
“Through those elections we have proved that we believe in democracy.”
Hasina said the elections would be held like in other parliamentary democracies.
"The next election is very crucial for continuation of democracy and development. We believe the people will re-elect us in the interest of their welfare and the country's development," Hasina added.
Turning to load shedding, she said her government would increase load shedding so that people could understand how they had been when the crisis of electricity was acute.

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