Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed's Awami League has taken a step forward to end the long political standoff in Bangladesh, saying it would take part in the upcoming general elections subject to some conditions.
Announcing the party decision after a meeting of its parliamentary board on Thursday night, Abdul Jalil, the AL General Secretary, said the party would join the polls only if their demands, including the amendment of the poll schedule, was met by the caretaker government of President Iajuddin Ahmed.
"We want to participate in the election as it is the democratic way to form and change a government," he told reporters in the party's first comments signalling interest in taking part in the polls now scheduled for January 23.
Jalil said however, "it will not be easy to join the elections according to the present schedule." Sheikh Hasina has asked party leaders and workers to prepare for elections while also holding street protests to force the government implement its proposals.
The AL-led 14-party alliance on Thursday said it would group up with like-minded parties and hold a "grand rally" in Dhaka on December 18.
The League and its allies want polling day to be put back, while ex-Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) wants no further delay in holding the elections.