Looking back at the coup that dared not speak its name 3
At the end of 2006, BNP offered up Justice K M Hasan as potential Chief Adviser and Justice MA Aziz as Chief Election Commissioner. The subsequent military coup became somewhat inevitable when Awami League rejected this and instead of Hasan, Iajuddin Ahmed, an academic with no administrative experience, became Chief Adviser and was tasked to carry out the next election.
Awami League did not trust themselves enough to participate in the 2007 elections. BNP was not popular enough to carry the country to the election. Subsequently, a non-political force was allowed to step into the vacuum.
For the next election, Awami League will potentially offer up now-Justice (possibly future Chief Justice) Khairul Huq as Chief Adviser. The current Election Commission’s tenure will be over by then. The new Election Commissioners will potentially be much more unacceptable to BNP than Aziz was to Awami League.
Will BNP reject this offer?
If BNP does so, it will be an unwise move. BNP barely survived the last unconstitutional government. It probably will not survive the next one. It would do a lot better to put its trust in Khairul Huq, an individual of high principles and start thinking about which individuals would be acceptable as Election Commissioners.
Of course, the more flexible BNP is, the more Awami League will take advantage of this process.
Ultimately, when the next election comes around, Khaleda Zia will have to decide whether she is willing to accept electoral defeat for the sake of democratic continuity in Bangladesh.
Much will depend on her answer.