Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday said the next general election will be held in the country following the Westminster system of Britain.
“We follow the Westminster type democracy. We will hold the election as Britain does. Yes, we can show liberality [flexibility] that if anyone from among the MPs [parties] in parliament expresses desire to join the election-time government, we are ready to take them,” she said.
By saying so she meant the MPs from the parliamentary opposition. All the seven MPs from opposition BNP quit the legislature in December last year as part of the party’s anti-government movement.
“Now they [BNP] are not in parliament. So, there is nothing to think about them,” she said.
The prime minister made this remark replying to a question regarding the election-time government at a press conference arranged at her official residence Ganabhaban on the outcome of her recent three-nation visit to Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom from April 25 to May 8.
Sheikh Hasina said her government had shown such liberality before the 2014 national election and asked BNP leader Khaleda Zia to give her party’s representation in that election-time government, but she did not do so.
The prime minister said the government has no objection with the movement of BNP, but it will not tolerate any violence including arson.
“If they wage movement, we have no objection. But if they resort to arson violence and burn any person again, we will not spare them… They can wage movement as much as they can.”
Sheikh Hasina, also the president of Bangladesh Awami League, said she has been working for the welfare of the people. “If the people vote for her, she will stay in power, otherwise not.”
Replying to a question if any talks will be held with those who (BNP) are now waging movement on the streets against the government, the prime minister said, “What for are we going to call them to talks? Their demand is not specific as well.”
In reply to another question, she reiterated that the government will not procure anything from those who impose sanctions on Bangladesh. “We will procure nothing from those who impose sanction on us.”
Responding to a question regarding the dollar crisis, the prime minister said the dollar crisis is worldwide, not in Bangladesh only.
“There is no such crisis [in Bangladesh]. The reserves of foreign currencies were only $0.744 billion in 2006 during the BNP regime. That means less than one billion dollars. But now we have reserves of $31.22 billion. Now there is not much reason to worry about it.”
Replying to other questions, Sheikh Hasina said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) provided a loan to Bangladesh as the country has the capacity to repay it and its economy did not get poor yet.
She blasted a section of people who do not see any good side of the government, saying that they are blind despite having eyes.
She said now the rate of extreme poverty has come down to only 5 per cent from 25 per cent in the country.
The Awami League chief said they will declare building “Smart Bangladesh” in her party’s next election manifesto.
She ruled out any possibility to raise the age limit of entry to government jobs.