Independent candidates’ standpoint to clarify who to be opposition: Law minister

Law minister Anisul HuqFile photo

The standpoint of the independent candidates who won in the recently concluded 12th parliamentary election will clarify who will be the opposition in parliament, said incumbent law, justice and parliamentary affairs minister Anisul Huq.

The minister said this while talking to the newspersons at his secretariat office Tuesday.

Voting for the 12th parliamentary election was held on Sunday. So far results of 298 constituencies have been announced unofficially. The governing Awami League (AL) won 222 seats while AL-led 14-party alliance’s Bangladesh Workers’ Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal (JASAD) got two seats each. They contested with “boat”, the electoral symbol of Awami League.

As a party, Jatiya Party, incumbent opposition in parliament, got the second highest number of seats (11) in the election and the independent candidates, most of who are AL leaders, won in 62 constituencies.

The candidates who won in the election will be sworn in on Wednesday. But questions have been raised about who would be the opposition in the 12th parliament.

The law minister said the standpoint of the MPs who have been elected independently will have to be sorted out first. Then they would think of who to be the opposition. “We will have to wait for this. How many of them want to maintain which position, how many of them want to act independently - when these issues will become clear, only then we will know who to be the Opposition.”

The law minister hoped that the independent candidates would inform the government of their standpoint after the oath taking ceremony Wednesday.

Responding to a question, Anisul Huq stated they (the independent candidates) are of Awami League but they have not been elected as candidates of the AL. Rather they have been elected as independent members of parliament, and their electoral symbol was also different. Only those who have been elected as “boat” candidates, are the candidates of Awami League. In that case they (the independent MPs) are of Awami League - this could be for saying only, but the law and the reality do not support this. “If they think they would constitute a forum, then we would know who would be the opposition.”

Mentioning that a few foreign observers remarked that the election was free and neutral, a journalist asked the law minister that the US said in a statement that the election was not free, fair and participatory.

In response to the question, the law minister said they have always maintained that an election is fair and participatory when the people cast ballots. He said everyone saw people voted in the polls. They welcomed the election and took part in it. That is why they (the government) would say the election was participatory that was acknowledged by the people.

Anisul Huq did not think anyone else’s acknowledgement was necessary.