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Analysts view JP’s share in power as unprecedented

Staff Correspondent

Analysts of constitutional practice and parliamentary democracy said that the Jatiya Party’s being in opposition in the 10th parliament and having three places in the cabinet was unprecedented and in breach of norms of parliamentary democracy.
Jurist Rafique-ul Huq, however, viewed that constitutionally, there would be no problem if the Jatiya Party ministers took oath upon the consent of the party; they would, otherwise, fall under the obligations of Article 70 of the constitution.
‘The ministers from the party will do their job and others who are in the opposition will do their job accordingly. There is no problem,’ he said observing that the main opposition in the 9th parliament, the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, had missed the train by boycotting the polls.
Jurist ZI Khan Panna termed it an unprecedented event in the history of parliamentary democracy and declined further comments as to him ‘all this actually makes no sense.’
Dhaka University law teacher Borhanuddin Ahmed said that no such precedence had been there but the governments of former Soviet Union where actually no opposition existed.
‘It cannot be defined whether it was constitutional or ultra vires as such details are never written in the constitution. But judging from the spirit of parliamentary democracy, it is against norms. It has not been noticed in any parliamentary democracy,’ he said.
Borhanuddin thinks that there will be no problem if the government finds it to be an all-party government but if it wants to keep an opposition, it cannot share power. ‘It is a mockery in the name of parliamentary democracy.’
He also said that the formation of the government under the 10th parliament would create problems as the ninth parliament was still in place. ‘I do not agree with ruling party leaders that the ninth parliament is dissolved
automatically with the swearing in of lawmakers to the 10th parliament as the constitution clearly says about the parliament’s tenure. If it was not mentioned in the constitution, the idea of automatic dissolution could be acceptable,’ he said.
Nizamuddin Ahmed, a professor of public administration in Chittagong University, said that there was no answer to questions about about the dual role of the Jatiya Party in the same parliament. ‘They have introduced a new Bangladeshi form of parliamentary democracy.’
Dhaka University political science teacher Shantanu Majumder said that he was eagerly waiting to see how the Jatiya Party could play the copybook role of the opposition in the house. ‘I want to see the Jatiya Party’s role as the opposition when activities of the ministers from the party will come under question. Will they criticise them or support them? They have introduced a new thing and let us see what they do,’ he said.
Shantanu also thought that Jatiya Party members might face some tricky problems in parliamentary activities.

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