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00:00 19 Dec 2018 / LAST CHANGE: 20:11 19 Dec 2018
Campaign Pledge: Awami League MANIFESTO
Hasina urges people; promises a stronger democracy, better governance
The president of the Awami League, Sheikh Hasina, unveiled her party's election manifestos yesterday at hotels in the city. Photo: BSS, collected
shakhawat liton, Rashidul Hassan
The Awami League will speed up the institutionalization of democracy and strengthen the National Human Rights Commission, the Anti-Corruption Commission, the media and the judiciary when elected for the third consecutive year.
“For the last 10 years, Parliament has been the center of all state functions…. Initiatives are being taken to make the House of Representatives more effective,” said American League leader Sheikh Hasina, presenting her party's manifesto at a city hotel yesterday.
While some important promises to ensure good governance made before the last two general elections are still on paper, the ruling party has now made new promises to improve governance.
In its 21-point pledge, the LA also pledges to have zero tolerance for corruption, strengthen the electoral system through reforms, alleviate poverty, create jobs, ensure service-oriented and accountable administration, and an increased focus on local infrastructure development.
Just 11 days before the 11th general election, Hasina made a strong call on voters to "consider with grace" the mistakes she and her party colleagues have made since taking office in 2009 and re-elect her party.
"To err is human. My colleagues and I may have made mistakes in the performance of our duties. I fervently ask my compatriots on behalf of myself and my party to be kind to our mistakes," he told the program, which was attended by from his party leaders, businessmen, dignitaries and foreign diplomats.
“I promise to build a better future by learning from the past. We will build a golden non-communal Bangladesh, free from hunger, poverty and illiteracy, as the father of the nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, longed for,” he said.
Hasina made a heartfelt appeal to the people to ensure AL's victory through an "electoral revolution", saying: "Take care of your vote for 'Boot'. We will bring you development and prosperity... Our victory is sure, God willing. wants."
The 2018 manifesto, titled Bangladesh on the path to prosperity, focuses on 33 sectors to be addressed with two strategic plans: the SDGs and the Delta 2100 Plan.
The party aims to increase GDP growth from the current 7.8% to 10% in the next five years and reduce the poverty rate from the current around 22% to zero by 2041.
According to the manifesto, it will create jobs for 1.28 million young people, with jobs abroad for 1,000 young men and women from each Upazila.
Citing recent protests for safer roads, Hasina vowed to bring discipline to Dhaka's transport sector.
"If we are elected, we will introduce modern bus services to reduce the unruly public transport service in Dhaka," he said.
In addition, modern public facilities will be provided in each village, he added.
A National Minorities Commission is established to deal with issues related to ethnic groups, religious minorities and backward communities.
The manifesto also pledges to guarantee freedom of the press and the free flow of information.
“Effective measures will be taken to prevent the spread of false news and unexpected rumors. Journalism and the media that promote social responsibility will receive support [from the government].
“A law favorable to the media is being drafted. There will be no abuse of laws against journalists and media outlets,” Hasina said.
WHAT ABOUT THE PROMISES OF THE PAST?
In her speech, the AL leader said that the manifesto for the upcoming general elections is, in fact, a continuation of her party's long-term plans, outlined in the 2008 and 2014 manifestos.
However, after winning in 2008, the American League fell short of some of its important promises.
Before the elections, it had promised to appoint an ombudsman and to publish annual reports on the wealth and sources of income of the prime minister, ministers and their close relatives. He also pledged to end extrajudicial killings. But not all promises are fulfilled.
His commitment to take action to promote tolerance and decency in politics is still on paper today.
The LA has also failed to meet its 2008 commitment to reserve 100 parliamentary seats for women and provide for direct elections.
In the pre-election period of 2014, the AL remained silent on issues such as extrajudicial executions, appointment of an ombudsman and disclosure of asset declarations.
But he vowed to make efforts to build a national consensus among political parties and professionals on fundamental issues such as safeguarding democracy and unrestricted development. But no such effort was made.
Their commitment to promulgate the necessary laws and regulations to guarantee the transparency of the performance of parliamentarians inside and outside Parliament and their accountability to the people has not been fulfilled either.
In 2014, as in the past, the party talked about taking steps so that parliament can act and strengthen institutions.
He also pledged to strengthen the electoral commission by developing a strong electoral system through reforms.
But the current EC finds it difficult to ensure a level playing field for candidates in the December 30 elections.
- Awami League Manifesto
- 11. National elections in Bangladesh
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The ruling Awami League pledged in today's election manifesto to introduce a policy of zero tolerance for militancy, drugs and corruption.
In addition to strengthening the anti-corruption commission, awareness campaigns will be carried out throughout the country, according to the party's electoral program.
Awami League President and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today released the party's manifesto for the upcoming national elections, scheduled for December 30.
Four university students are still missing after being picked up by men in civilian clothes in the Farmgate area of the capital on Saturday, the eve of the general election.
Their families held a press conference at the Bangladesh Crime Reporters Association yesterday, calling for the youths' safe return.
The missing are: Abu Khaled Mohammad Jabed, 25, a third-year student at Bangla Asian University; Borhan Uddin, 26, an English student at Stamford University; Rezaul Khalek, 24, a senior pharmacy student at Manarat University; and Syed Maminul Hasan, 27, a former student of the Unani College of Ayurvedic Medicine.
"We are very concerned about their fate as we have not had contact with them for two days," Jabed's brother-in-law Yeasin Karim told the news conference.
He urged police to rescue the youths or bring them to justice if they are arrested for a crime.
They were dragged off a bus at Farmgate by plainclothes men posing as policemen on their way home to Mirpur-1 after shopping at Aziz supermarket, Yeasin said, citing a friend of his who was also at the bus but escaped arrest.
"We contacted local police stations and other law enforcement branches, but they all denied catching Jabed," he said.
The families called on national and international human rights organizations to campaign for their release.
Contactee Abdul Baten, Additional Commissioner (Detectives) of the Dhaka Municipal Police, said he had not arrested the youths.
Mufti Mahmud Khan, head of Rab's media and legal department, also said they did not conduct any tour of Farmgate that day.
The ruling Awami League promised the availability of urban services in all towns across the country in its manifesto released today.
If elected, the party will implement programs to turn towns into cities, said party chairwoman Sheikh Hasina; Reading the manifest.
Electricity will reach all homes and all villages will be connected to Upazila districts and towns by concrete roads, he said.
Mills and factories will be built in all districts and upazilas to create jobs, and Internet and information technology will become widespread, he said.
The president of the Awami League, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, unveiled the party's manifesto for the upcoming national elections, scheduled for December 30.
Ali Imam Majumder
Ali Imam Majumder, a former cabinet secretary, said the Awami League's manifesto reflected the development work done by his government over the past 10 years.
"They said they would learn from the mistakes of the past, and if they really learn, the nation will benefit," he said.
Ali Imam criticized the ruling party's role vis-à-vis opposition parties, saying it had not given the opposition any political space in the past 10 years, not even during elections.
Speaking of the BNP manifesto, he said that the pink-tinged words she mentioned did not fit their origin.
“They promise to balance power between the president and the prime minister, but unfortunately the power of the party is concentrated in one person,” he said.
So there are still concerns about the sincerity of keeping promises, he said.
He hoped that when the party came to power, it would keep its promises more honestly.
Syed Manzoorul Islam
Noted writer and columnist Syed Manzoorul Islam said: “The Awami League manifesto is practical and detailed. They created it considering what they did and what they can do.
“The BNP is not in power, so it is easy for them to make an attractive manifesto. They did this because they affected the interests of all sectors. The BNP manifesto is very ambitious. The proposals are more attractive, but they lack strategic details,” he said.
But Manzoorul, a retired professor from Dhaka University, said the manifesto would be meaningless if the proposals were not viable.
Professor Al Masud Hasanuzzaman, a professor at Jahangirnagar University, said that AL's manifesto mainly focuses on development and its promises to continue development work.
On the other hand, the BNP is focused on democracy and the rule of law, and there are some surprises in the manifesto, he said.
The challenge for LA is to establish good governance in the country, as it has promised. When good governance is ensured, democracy and development are also guaranteed, she added.
On the contrary, it is a challenge for the BNP to keep many of its promises, particularly in cases where a constitutional amendment is required.
A two-thirds majority in Parliament is required to implement these promises.
Dr. Iftekharuzzaman, executive director of Transparency International Bangladesh, said the American League president's call for a forgiving attitude toward her party's mistakes could be seen as refreshing, especially in a culture where political leaders don't They are notorious for admitting mistakes.
"This is important because she, too, has pledged to learn from mistakes if given the mandate to continue. I would wish her party well if it accepts the challenge to remain true to that commitment," he said.
He also said that the party's commitment to inclusive development is extremely important and inspires hope. However, proponents of this commitment are expected to recognize that inclusive development is impossible when people's voices and voices are constrained by restrictions on press freedom, freedom of expression and the right of assembly.
"Therefore, if they remain faithful to this commitment, they must also commit to changing laws such as the Digital Security Law and refrain from all kinds of actions against press freedom and freedom of expression, which are a sine qua non for inclusive growth. ”.
Equally important is the commitment to zero tolerance for corruption, which is also reflected in previous Los Angeles manifestos, he said.
Iftekharuzzaman said it would take some effort to faithfully fulfill that promise. The key would be the courage and ability to punish the corrupt without fear or favour, and to depoliticize key accountability institutions that have become monopolized territories of the ruling party.
This includes the bureaucracy, law enforcement agencies, the judiciary, the anti-corruption commission and, last but not least, parliament itself, he said, adding: "If these institutions cannot act in the interest public, then independent, transparent and with professionalism". integrity, then it is zero". -Tolerance for corruption will continue to be a paper tiger".
This year will decide whether Bangladesh can maintain its institutional ambitions towards liberal democracy. But the values enshrined by the founding architects of Bangladesh within the framework of a strong constitution are being quietly, dangerously and quietly redefined, decisively putting democracy at odds with development.
This kind of political anti-liberalism, methodically and deliberately disguised by the ruling elites under the guise of economic growth, shows that there are enough fears that Bangladesh will sign a death knell for democratic practices.
The country is now preparing for a litmus test to determine whether it has the capacity and political will to reform a fragmented, divisive, fragile and deeply biased electoral system.
Will primary election politics remain peaceful or turn violent?
Politically, while Bangladeshi youth are sympathetic to the historic struggles of the ruling Awami League and aligned with Sheikh Hasina's development agendas, they are also aware that they hold the regime, which many believe ruled their entire adult lives, accountable for its Actions. .
For those born after 1994, the right to vote is neither guaranteed nor realistically guaranteed by the state. The 2014 and 2018 general elections marked a turning point in the history of Bangladesh, shifting the baton of political engagement from the older generation to the younger generation.
However, both elections failed due to compliance with democratic standards. Both major parties can be blamed, but the fact is that in 2014 turnout was less than 40 percent and more than 50 percent of MPs were elected without a contest.
On the other hand, 2018 was a different year of collapse: the electoral commission registered an 80 percent turnout, and AL apparently received more than 74 percent of the vote. The official structure of the elections did not match what political observers, journalists and analysts were reporting from voting booths across the country. Large-scale manipulation, voter intimidation and ballot box stuffing was the unfortunate story of 2018, and it can be concluded that it was, in fact, a “managed” electoral exercise.
The problem with holding one-sided elections, no matter how well the country does on the economic front, is that it creates a serious lack of public confidence in the government and its institutions. Given that the LA has been in power since 2009 and recognizing that Sheikh Hasina's tenure was a turning point in setting a political tone for concrete investments in infrastructure, the responsibility to create an independent electorate is (within a democracy declining infantile), should also be attributed to the ruling party.
It is imperative to engage voters in the negotiations on the 2023 general election. Both the Awami League and the BNP must recalibrate their political approach away from the events of previous years and promote alternative political visions for the country. Whether these parties really care about the sanctity of elections is an open question, but that should not stop citizens from voicing their demands for free, fair and credible elections.
Some may wonder: if countries like China can opt for a centralized one-party system that stimulates economic development, why can't Bangladesh?
For one thing, Bangladesh is not China, and the affinity of many political leaders for autocrats like Xi Jinping or Vladimir Putin is misinformed and worrying.
Bangladesh need only recall the variety of sociopolitical reasons cited by Bangabandhu and the Awami League in their quest for independence from Pakistan's military architecture to understand why being a democracy is a fundamental component of the idea of Bangladesh.
Can Bangladeshi politics change position in 2023?
An increasingly tough Awami League has aggressively used its regulatory systems, including the DSA, to quash individual and collective forms of political dissent, demonstrating a tendency to monopolize legal provisions and connected technologies in an effort to consolidate power. and preserve legitimacy. the state.
Given the widespread use of strict digital security rules to selectively suppress dissent, it is not unreasonable to suggest that Dhaka can imitate Beijing in its approach to governance and policy making.
With new regulations for digital platforms that must guarantee the authority of the government and its right to act as an intermediary in the removal/blocking of content deemed “subversive”, Bangladesh is codifying authoritarian and social control tendencies into its digital landscape. The bias towards China, coupled with the country's poor experience with the 2014 and 2018 general elections, underscores why 2023 will be a pivotal year for Bangladesh.
The Bangladeshi public deserves to participate in free, fair and credible elections, and it is the moral and constitutional duty, especially of the ruling party, to make this possible. Otherwise, Bangladeshis will be denied the opportunity to exercise their right to vote for the third consecutive year, and the country's liberal-democratic aspirations will be overshadowed by a natural transition towards alarming digital authoritarianism.
Mir Aftabuddin AhmedHe is a columnist and political analyst. can be reached in[Email protected]
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