Dhaka (Agenzia Fides) - The general elections in Bangladesh will be held on December 30th, the date announced by Nurul Huda, Electoral Commissioner. Previously there was talk of a date on December 23, too close to Christmas: this is why Christians in Bangladesh have welcomed the postponement of the vote to after the Christmas celebrations. "In this time, it is necessary that everyone, government, opposition, civil society, commit themselves to guaranteeing a free and transparent vote. We are happy it will be after Christmas", comments to Agenzia Fides Fr. David Bipul Das, Catholic parish priest of the diocese of Barisal
The opposition alliance, "Jatiya Oikya Front", which includes the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), led by leader Kamal Hossain, has promised to start a confrontation at all levels, in view of the vote. The alliance, composed of 20 parties, wants a transitional government to take effect in the weeks leading up to the vote, to ensure "free and fair elections", arguing that the incumbent government, led by the "Awami League" could exploit its position of power to take advantage of the electoral campaign. The government claims that this request is unconstitutional.
In the past, elections in Bangladesh were often marked by violence. Bengali Christians say they are worried about the inclusion of the "Jamaat-e-Islami" radical Islamist party in the coalition of opposition parties. The Christian faithful in Bangladesh (0.2% of the population) reaffirm their mission of witnessing the Gospel to a predominantly Muslim country, offering a contribution to education, development and social services, to cultural activities aimed at witnessing love and peace, gifts of God. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 14/11/2018)