Elections anytime between Oct 25 and Jan 24: Speaker
JS goes into session with opposition staying outStaff Correspondent
The speaker, Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, on Thursday said that the next general elections would take place anytime between October 25 this year and January 24, 2014.
‘As per the constitution, the general elections must be held within 90 days before the expiry of parliament. That means the polls will be held anytime between October 25 and January 24,’ the speaker said while inaugurating the 19th session of parliament.
She mentioned that the tenure of parliament would expire on January 24, 2014.
The speaker made the announcement amid a political crisis over the issue of an election-time government and the debate over whether parliament should be dissolved or not before the polls.
According to a decision of the business advisory committee, the 19th session of parliament that began on Thursday with the opposition staying out would continue till October 24.
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, on September 2 made it clear that her cabinet would not take any policy decisions between October 27 this year and January 24, 2014. ‘The current parliament would serve out its full tenure, but it would not hold any session in three months before the expiry of its five-year term,’ she told top bureaucrats outlining her government’s plan on an interim administration.
The opposition parties have demanded dissolution of parliament before the polls and elections under a non-party administration.
Shirin expected that the treasury and opposition benches would make the
session meaningful through constructive discussions and debates. She also sought cooperation of all for the continuation of democracy.
She said a number of important bills would be passed in the current session.
The session began Thursday afternoon amid little hope for a resolution of the current political impasse on the election-time interim government as the opposition continued its tendency towards staying out of the house.
At the beginning of the sitting, the speaker announced the names of the panel chairs for the session who would preside over sittings in absence of the speaker and the deputy speaker. They are ABM Golam Mostafa, Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, Mujibul Haque, ZIM Mostafa Ali and Ashrafunnesa Mosharaf.
Earlier, the business advisory committee decided to continue the session till October 24 and vested the authority in the speaker to adjourn the session for Eid-ul-Azha and Durga Puja.
The leader of the house and prime minister Sheikh Hasina attended the BAC meeting but neither the opposition leader Khaleda Zia nor any of her representatives attended.
The law minister, Shafique Ahmed, would place three ordinances — the Information and Communications Technology (Amendment) Ordinance 2013, the Vested Property Return (2nd Amendment) Ordinance 2013 and the Multi-Level Marketing (Control) Ordinance 2013 — as per constitutional obligation.
The first sitting was adjourned till Sunday after adopting condolence motion on lawmaker Golam Sabur and some other former lawmakers and eminent personalities.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, lawmakers Tofail Ahmed, Amir Hossain Amu, ASM Feroz, Shahriar Alam and Ruhul Amin Howlader took part in the discussion paying tributes to Golam Sabur.
The president, Abdul Hamid, convened the session on August 18. The ninth parliament was elected through the December 29, 2008 general elections and began its journey on January 25, 2009 with the first sitting. It would serve out the tenure on January 24, 2014.
After a long absence of 83 days, the opposition had returned to the house in the last (18th) session of parliament that ended on July 16.
The opposition’s boycott of parliament has been endemic since Bangladesh returned to parliamentary democracy in 1991, after a break of 16 years.
The opposition lawmakers led by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party attended sittings of the current parliament for 75 days out of 394 days in the past 18 sessions.
Similarly, Awami League boycotted sittings for 223 days out of 373 days in the previous parliament.
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