Polls to be held in time: PM

Mahamudul Hasan
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a news conference on the outcome of her recent tour of the United Arab Emirates at Ganabhaban on Thursday.  — New Age photo

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina addresses a news conference on the outcome of her recent tour of the United Arab Emirates at Ganabhaban on Thursday.
— New Age photo

The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, has ruled out holding of an early election and said that the present government would stay in office for five years as per the constitution and the next polls would be held in time.
‘Generally, one election follows another. In a democracy, a government has right to give election at any time… But the fact is that the tenure of a government is five years and the people elect a government for five years,’ she said at a press conference at her official Ganabhaban residence on Thursday afternoon.
The press conference was called to brief the media on the outcome of her recent visit to the United Arab Emirates. However, she faced a string of questions on domestic politics.
Asked about BNP’s reminder that the prime minister had pledged to hold another election in the shortest possible time after the January 5 polls which was held to maintain constitutional continuity, Hasina said since an election had taken place another would certainly follow it. Let the people understand things the way they like. ‘I cannot make them do so,’ she said.
The prime minister said it was an Awami League government (1996-2001) which could serve out its five-year term for the first time in the country’s history and later again completed its tenure in 2009-2014. No government in the past could do so.
Hasina iterated that the January 5 elections were held to maintain the constitutional obligation and that she had made every effort, including making phone call to BNP leader Khaleda Zia to bring her to the election but the latter had not come rather tried desperately to foil the polls.
‘What would have happened if the elections had not been held? …We earlier tackled the 1/11 situation,’ she said.
As for the BNP’s claim that her visit to the UAE was a ‘failed mission’, the prime minister said it was the BNP which had shown its failure in every sphere.
‘They [BNP] failed to join the elections and failed to build up a movement. So, it is only natural that they would see failure in others’ actions,’ she said.
Asked about European Union’s concern over war crimes convict Motiur Rahman Nizami’ death penalty, Hasina wondered how the EU could express concern for those who had committed crimes against humanity.
‘Trial of the war criminals is being held according to our country’s laws and maintaining international standard. Trial of war criminals is nothing new. Trials of the people who committed crimes against humanity during the World War-II are even held today,’ she said.
Hasina criticised EU’s silence over Israel’s violation of human rights in Gaza and questioned how terrorism and extremism could be checked if they defended those who violated human rights.
Asked whether she was concerned about Indian media reports that extremists had plotted to kill her, Hasina said that she was not afraid of any plot or threat, as many attempts had already been made on her life.

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