BNP promises state reform if voted to power

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) unveiled a 27-point plan for state reform on December 2, 2022. When announcing the slate of state reorganizing ideas and plans, the BNP promised that if it came to power, it would put policies in place to make sure that no prime minister or president could serve more than two terms in a row. The BNP stated that it would establish a balance of power between the president and prime minister in its 27-point platform. Tarique Rahman, BNP’s acting chairman, presented a brief outline of the state reforms in his introductory speech.

The outline included the establishment of an inclusive and egalitarian “rainbow nation” based on the amalgamation of diverse views and paths. But before that, the party urged the need to form an election-time non-partisan caretaker government system to ensure the right to vote for the people.

One striking factor of the plan is the introduction of two houses in the parliament where the upper house would comprise distinguished educators, professionals, political scientists, sociologists, and those with administrative expertise, while the lower house would be comprised of elected representatives from 300 constituencies.

The party took a bold step by suggesting changes in Article 70 of the constitution to allow parliament members to cross the floor, if needed, during the discussion on issues of national interest. Bangladesh does not allow parliamentarians to speak against the party line on an issue.

Revisions were suggested for the acts and rules, like the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners’ Appointment Act of 2022 and The Digital Security Act of 2018. Besides, the formation of commissions to reform the administrative service, reduce income inequality, and ensure press freedom has been suggested.

The party pledges to end the practice of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, and physical and mental torture and to take steps to ensure the rule of law. Trials must be held for everyone directly or indirectly accountable for extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate killings committed in the name of “crossfire,” enforced disappearances, murders, kidnappings, rapes, physical torture, and all other cruel and inhumane crimes committed over the course of more than a decade, the party declared in its reforms plan.

The BNP also vows that no terrorist activity shall be tolerated on the soil of Bangladesh. Stern measures shall be taken against terrorism, extremism, and militancy. The abuse of anti-terror laws to suppress dissent will be stopped. This will facilitate identifying the real terrorists and ensuring punishment under the due process of law.