We have got some conflicting reports coming from Bangladesh. The government declared that the election will be on schedule i.e. December 18th after its frantic two-day negotiations with BNP-led 4-party alliance failed.
The government proposals the BNP could not agree with:
"Deferment of the parliamentary election by ten days to December 28, total lifting of the emergency at an appropriate time before the election taking into consideration the law and order situation, holding upazila elections on January 8, 2009, and implementing clause 91(e) of the amended Representation of the People Order (RPO) with utmost caution and accountability."However Khaleda Zia announced today in a televised briefing after back-to-back meetings of her party and allies:
We will certainly participate in the [parliamentary] elections if it is held on December 28, but the government must implement our three other demands.The three demands are – a complete withdrawal of the state of emergency on the last date of withdrawal of nomination papers for parliamentary elections, revocation of the Article 91(E) of the Representation of People Order that gives the Election Commission ‘despotic’ power to cancel candidature at any level of elections, and deferment of the upazila polls by one month from the date of ballot in the parliamentary elections.
So it shows that they want to contest in the election but are still in a bargaining mode. Probably they are still maintaining their farcical Hajj pilgrim vote argument as the reason to defer the election date by ten days.
The good side of today's developments is that we will have election with the participation of all parties and the bad side is the country cannot afford to be held ransom by these political games of certain political parties when everyone else is agreeing to the election at December 18.