DHAKA (Reuters) – A Bangladeshi court is due to decide on Monday whether to grant bail to former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia who was jailed last month for five years for graft, with its decision likely to have far-reaching ramifications for politics and security.
Zia is a two-term prime minister whose bitter rivalry with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has defined Bangladeshi politics for years.
Hangs - Run-up - December - Election - Zia
Their feud hangs over the run-up to a December election with Zia’s Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) vowing to boycott the polls in a protest against what it says is Zia’s unfair jailing on trumped up charges.
A court decision to release Zia could open the door to the possibility of her party’s participation in the general election, said party secretary-general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir.
Election - Alamgir - Reuters
“Without her, the election will be meaningless and it won’t be acceptable to us,” Alamgir told Reuters.
“Her confinement will be one of the factors in making our decisions,” Alamgir said, though adding that unless the judgment against her is overturned, she would not be able to contest the election even if released on bail.
Bangladesh - Rules - Anyone - Years - Election
Under Bangladesh electoral rules, anyone jailed for more than two years cannot contest an election for five years.
The BNP boycotted the last polls, in 2014, in a protest against Hasina’s scrapping of the practice of having a caretaker government oversee elections.
Boycott - December - Minister - Awami - League
A boycott again in December would again give the prime minister’s Awami League a clear run at power when the opposition could be benefiting from voter frustration...
Wake Up To Breaking News!