Poverty is the enemy: Sheikh Hasina
Bangladesh Awami League (AL) president Sheikh Hasina, in her first, formal public statement since a landslide victory in Monday's election, said she would target poverty as her "number one enemy" but that her first task would be to bring prices down to the reach of the poor.
"Our greatest, our number one enemy is poverty," said Hasina, while speaking Wednesday to a packed news conference hall at the Bangladesh-China Conference Centre in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh.
In line with pre-polls pledges of AL, Hasina promised to take parliamentary opposition in confidence and said she would not even have any problem with choosing ministers from beyond the treasury bench. She stressed the role of the opposition in future governance, and urged all political parties "to work together forgetting all divisions".
Earlier, AL President Sheikh Hasina said, her party will work in unanimity and agreement with the opposition in parliament to strengthen democracy and develop the nation. She told this at a meeting with a delegation of the United Nations election observers at her Sudha Sadan residence in Dhanmondi.
"Our first task will be to lower prices of commodities to bring them within the reach of the poor. We want to avoid destructive and divisive politics," said the AL president about to enter her second term as prime minister of Bangladesh. "We will ensure the role and participation of the opposition in parliament and governance," Hasina added, “the victory was not only her party's or the grand alliance's but a victory for non-communal democracy against communalism, it is a victory of the people's aspiration for good governance against misrule ... of peace against terrorism.”
In the mean time, it is expected that official result of the 9th parliamentary election of Bangladesh could be published on the first day of year 2009, and hoping that a new government will be formed on or within January 10, 2009; as 10th January is the day of return to home of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1972 from Pakistan via London and Delhi. This Day has a political significance to AL and to the nation as well.
Final unofficial result of the parliamentary poll shown that AL-led grand alliance bagged a three forth majority in parliament with 262 seats. As of party wise sharing, AL sweeps 230 that is an absolute majority for parliamentary decision. Jatio Party (JP) of former military autocrat HM Ershad acquires 27 and other two alliance partner Jatio Samajtantric Dal (JSD) and Bangladesher Workers Party (WP) catch three and two respectively. On the other hand, Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led four-party alliance obtained 32 constituencies, and out of these BNP bagged 29, fundamentalist Jamate Islami get 02 and other catches 01.
By the time BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia said that Monday's general election was stage-managed and farcical, and so its results are not acceptable to her party. "By declaring pre-set results, the Election Commission (EC) has shown the polls don’t reflect the public opinion," she said. After a long meeting with the party's standing committee members Khaleda Zia made this comment at mid night of Tuesday. Khaleda said there is no instance of such a 'massive ballot rigging' that took place on December 29.
On the other hand USA, India and Japan have welcomed Bangladesh for successful holding of parliamentary elections, which mark the return to democratic process. The US State Department in a statement said the United States will continue to support the people of Bangladesh and its new government, as they begin a new chapter in their country's history.
A Japanese foreign ministry spokesman said Japan strongly hopes that the democracy in Bangladesh will further progress, following the result of the current general elections. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh telephoned Awami League President Sheikh Hasina and greeted her on the victory of the grand alliance in the parliamentary elections.
Indian National Congress party President Sonia Gandhi also congratulated the AL leader on her victory. CPI (M) leader Jyoti Basu also expressed the hope that friendly ties between India and Bangladesh would be further strengthened following the massive victory of the Awami League-led alliance in the elections.
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