Bangladesh on the track of elections
While the youngsters of Bangladesh were in a festive mood, as the Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Boards published result of secondary level public examination, the politicians and authorities were engaged in a juncture of decision making process to overcome the upcoming challenges i.e. the elections of local and national level. By all considerations, it could be said that now Bangladesh is on the track of elections, in terms of local bodies and the parliament.
Today (26 June 2008) education boards have published result of secondary level education, which is the first public examination for a student in Bangladesh. That is why the result of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination always creates tension among the students, teachers and guardians. After having result the capital city and of course the rural Bangladesh enjoy a good cheer for the success of examinees.
As of the result published today, the pass rate of Secondary School Certificate (SSC) examination has marked a sharp rise to 70.18 percent from last year’s 57.37 percent with over 40,000 students securing GPA-5 (Grade Point Average). A number of 41,917 students under seven education boards received the highest score in this year’s examination, up from 25,732 students last year. Average pass rate of SSC, SSC (Vocational) and Dakhil examinations under nine education boards including Madrasah Board and Technical Education Board has also increased to 72.18 percent against 58.36 percent last year. A total of 726563 have passed from the net 1,013,301 students appeared in this year’s SSC exams conducted under the nine educational boards.
It should be mentioned here that student activism is one of the historical phenomenon of the politics of Bangladesh. Students have very important and glorious role in all political loggerheads and changes of the country including the language movement of 1952, Education Movement of 1962, movement for self rule in 1966, peoples upsurge of 1969; liberation war of 1971 and mass upsurge for democracy in 1990. The students have got the certificate of SSC, most of them will be in a college and may be a member of any students organisation and of course would be the part of the struggle for democracy. Let have the pleasure to say congratulations to the upcoming conscious citizen of the nation.
When these little stars were waiting for results, Begume Khaleda Zia, the imprisoned Chairperson of Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), was talking with the journalist about the politics, while she was produced to a special court, where trial procedure of a corruption case is going on. And the Executive Committee of Bangladesh Awami League (AL) was in a meeting to discuss the latest political scenario.
On the other hand, the Election Commission (EC) of Bangladesh is passing through a very busy time as the commission has already declared the election schedule for four City Corporation and nine municipalities and is preparing a code for Upazila (sub-district) Council election. Government is intending to finish all local body election by October next, as stated by an advisor of military backed interim government. The parliamentary election is also scheduled in the third week of December 2008 as per the EC road map and commitment of Chief Advisor (CA) of government.
After the declaration of first phase local body election, BNP and four-party alliance told in their reaction that the alliance will not participant in the election, rather they will resist the process. AL was very careful to comment on the issue. The party never told that they will not join the poll, but their demand was that parliamentary election should be staged first before any local government poll. But the central leaders of AL started to visit all major towns and localities, unites and branches of the party including local body centers, which are schedule for election on 4th August 2008.
Meanwhile, the partners of AL led 14-party alliance expressed their intention to participate in all elections and put their strong demand for immediate withdrawal of the state of emergency that was imposed in January 11 of 2007 and have made easy by phases in recent past. Jatio Party (JP) of Hussein Mohammad Ershad, an ousted military autocrat, and few other parties, emerged after January 2007, have also said that they will participate in all local and national level election.
In this point of time, AL has taken a strategy to press the government for total withdrawal of Emergency. The demand for national election first is a pressure in favor of their main objective, the political observers stated. Observers also said that AL could be participating in the local body elections under a non political citizen banner as the local body election is a process of people’s representation through non political manner. It could be cited that last election of Chittagon City Corporation was participated in the same manner to make wider involvement of non-partisan citizens and it was a successful effort.
Political observers are also considering the recent comments of BNP supremo Khaleda Zia. In recent past she told to the newsmen that her party and alliance will not participate in any election before the withdraw of Emergency; her voice was echoed in the statement of her General secretary and other leaders statement and they were stating that BNP would resist elections other than the parliamentary poll. Presently the stand of BNP on election issue is much soft, the political analysts observed. On local body election issue Khaleda Zia made a comment that decision will be taken by the alliance leaders whether BNP and alliance partners should participate in local body election or not.
Earlier on June 26, 2008, in a special court BNP Chairperson told that her party may consider helping government if the interim administration considers holding national election first. This comment came out after a court decision of exempting Coco, the younger son of Khaleda Zia, from personal appearance in court while legal procedure will be in due course. Analysts stated that if the release process of Coco and Tareq, two sons of BNP Chairperson, who are in detention for corruption charges, progresses in an acceptable manner, the party may come forward to the elections whether local or national.
Meanwhile, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and other high ranking officials are visiting the cities schedule for election and providing information and training to the people who are intended to be candidates. Very recently CEC stated that EC has the preparation to conduct local body election as of road map and the parliament election would not be disrupt for local body poll, the parliamentary election is to be held by the end of 2008.
Considering the recent stand of the political parties and initiatives of authorities concerned, analysts are predicting that all political forces including the AL led 14-party alliance and BNP led 4-party alliance would be in the track of election; just government needs a pro-politics approach.
- The author of this article is a senior Political Analyst and Free lance writer on National and International issues based in Dhaka Bangladesh -
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