Noting significant differences among political leaderships, chief election commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal asserted that it is not impossible to avoid mutual mistrust and settle differences through a dialogue.
In his speech for the nation on Wednesday, he humbly requested all the political parties to find out a solution as well as abstain from conflict and violence.
Despite acute political unrest, the CEC announced the schedule for the 12th parliamentary election and hoped to welcome spontaneous participation of all parties and an electoral fight among them.
The voting is scheduled for 7 January next year, with the deadline for nomination submission set for 30 November and the withdrawal deadline on 17 December. The commission will verify nominations from 1 to 4 December and allocate electoral symbols on 18 December.
There might be ideological differences in a multi-party system. If it paves the way for conflict and violence, the resulting instability may put an adverse impact on the electoral process.
The election schedule came at a time when the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and other opposition parties have been enforcing a nationwide blockade programme to press home their demand for a neutral government to oversee the next elections.
The BNP rejected the 'unilateral' election schedule outright, saying the people under no circumstance will allow implementation of the schedule, rather, they will immerse it in the Bay of Bengal.
The US called for an unconditional dialogue among political parties, but the government rejected it and remained steadfast to hold the election as per the constitution.
The Communist Party of Bangladesh (CPB) and the Jamaat-e-Islami separately called for a hartal on Thursday, in protest of the election schedule. Meanwhile, Islami Andolan Bangladesh held a procession towards the EC building on Wednesday and announced demonstrations in districts on Thursday.
Earlier, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu sent letters to Awami League, BNP, and Jatiya Party, urging them to hold unconditional dialogue regarding the upcoming election.
The ruling party, however, rejected the call and remained steadfast to hold the election as per the constitution.
BNP rejects polls schedule
In his speech, the CEC also admitted the prevailing political differences and underscored the need for a conducive political climate to ensure a free, fair, inclusive, and festive election.
Referring to the political differences on the electoral system, CEC Kazi Habibul Awal said there might be ideological differences in a multi-party system. If it paves the way for conflict and violence, the resulting instability may put an adverse impact on the electoral process.