Most political parties say won’t join polls

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Thirteen political parties registered with the Election Commission, including the Awami League, are going to contest the 10th parliamentary polls while 19 registered political parties have said they will not participate in the election unless there is a non-party or neutral election-time government.
There are forty-one registered political parties in the country.
Four of the parties have told New Age that they had yet to make a decision, and attempts to contact five political parties using the telephone numbers provided by the Election Commission were not successful.
The chief election commissioner, Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, on Monday announced the schedule for the 10th parliamentary election setting January 5 as the polling day.
Apart from the seven political parties registered with the Election Commission which are part of the Awami League led alliance – Awami League, Jatiya Party, Ganatantry Party, Samyabadi Dal, Workers Party of Bangladesh, Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal and National Awami Party – leaders of five other parties said that they would also contest the polls.
The five are – Jatiya Party (Manju) , Zaker Party, Bangladesh Tarikat Federation, Bangladesh Islamic Front, Bangladesh Sangskritik Mukti Jote and Bangladesh Nationalist Front.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said the opposition alliance would not contest the next election without a polls-time caretaker government.
The opposition alliance includes 12 registered political parties – Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh Jatiya Party BJP, Liberal Democratic Party, Islami Oikya Jote, National People’s Party, Bangladesh Jamiat-e-Ulama-e-Islam, Bangladesh Kalyan Party, Islami Oikya Jote,  Jatiya Ganatantrik Party, Khelafat Majlish and Bangladesh Muslim League.
Leaders of seven other political parties also told New Age that they would not contest the polls.
The seven parties include the Communist Party of Bangladesh, the Socialist Party of Bangladesh,
Gana Forum, Bikalpadhara Bangladesh, Krishak Sramik Janata League, Revolutionary Workers Party and Islami Andolan Bangladesh.
Leaders of Bangladesh Muslim League, Pragatishil Ganatantrik Dal, Bangladesh Jatiya Party and Oikyabaddha Nagarik Andolan have said they have yet to decide whether to join the polls.
The country is in the midst of political turmoil as the two major political alliances have not yet reached a consensus over the nature of the election-time government.
The opposition alliance has for many months been demanding the restoration of the caretaker government to oversee parliamentary polls and said that it would not only boycott the ‘unilateral’ polls, but would also resist them.
The CEC made a clarion call for all political parties to come to an understanding over the polls in the greater interest the country and its people.
A total of 9,19,66,290 voters – of them 4,58,42,972 women – are eligible to exercise their franchise this time to elect their representatives in parliament.
Ruling Awami League-led alliance spokesperson Mohammad Nasim said that the alliance leaders at a meeting on Tuesday welcomed the election schedule.

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