4-party urge govt to scrape RPO, free Khaleda
Monday, 25 August 2008

Staff Correspondent

The BNP and its allies Sunday asked the interim government to repeal the new electoral laws, free Khaleda Zia and stage parliamentary polls first.

At the end of 90-minute meeting of the secretaries general of the four-party alliance at his NAM flats residence, BNP secretary general Khandakar Delwar Hossain told reporters the Representation of the People Order, (Amendment) Ordinance-2008' was an 'unconstitutional, undemocratic and purposely move'.
"It's like serving old wine in a new bottle, which a caretaker government or the Election Commission doesn't have any jurisdiction to do. Only an elected parliament can enact a law," said Delwar.
He opposed the fresh provisions for registration of political parties, 'No' vote and ban on front organisations.
"This RPO has been enforced deliberately to keep the four-party alliance out of the ensuing polls."
Asked if they would still take part in the elections, the BNP secretary general said, "We have demanded repeal of the total law while our legal experts have been reviewing and evaluating the situation closely."
He asked the makeshift administration to lift the state of emergency and hold the general elections in October.
"No elections can be properly held under the emergency, whereas, this government has illegally and improperly staged a local government election on August 4," Delwar said.
He said the meeting reiterated the long-held demands for former prime minister Khaleda Zia's release and sending her elder son Tarique Rahman abroad for treatment.
"The BNP, the four-party alliance and the people will not accept any conditions or bargain while Tarique is treated like a 'hostage'."
The meeting discussed ways to observe August 27 as a protests day to put pressure on authorities to release Khaleda and make the proposed human chain programme in Dhaka and elsewhere on the day a success.
He slated the government's attitude towards sending an ailing Tarique abroad for treatment. "People demand explanations from the government for sending not-so-seriously ailing leaders abroad and stopping Tarique from availing himself of such opportunities."
The alliance meeting was, among others, attended by Jama'at-e-Islami secretary general Ali Ahsan Mohammad Mujahid, Islami Oikkyo Jote secretary general Abdul Latif Nezami, Bangladesh Jatiya Party chairman Andalib Rahman Partho and Khelafat Majlish secretary general Ahmed Abdul Kader.
President Iajuddin Ahmed signed the new RPO ordinance into law on Aug 19.
The new laws say a candidate will not be able to contest the national polls from more than three constituencies simultaneously, one has to register as a voter first to be able to run the elections and political parties contesting the polls must register first.

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