Bangladesh elections sees highest number ever of Christian candidates
Eight members of the religious minority to run in the vote, scheduled for December 30, 2018. Christians demonstrate a renewed interest in political issues. The Catholic Church encourages lay people to participate actively "to affirm Christian values".
Dhaka (AsiaNews) - A total of eight Christian candidates, including seven Catholics and one Protestant, will run in the next general election on December 30, 2018 to grab one of the 300 seats available in Parliament. This is the highest number ever recorded in Bangladesh, demonstrating a renewed interest in political issues by the religious minority.
First scheduled for the Advent period, the parliamentary and government renewal political elections were postponed until December 30, at the request of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which wanted more time for its candidates. As usual, the two major political parties will challenge each other: the BNP of Khaleda Zia [who cannot run because serving a sentence of 10 years for corruption, ed] and the Awami League (Al) of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
In the current legislature, only one politician represents the Christian minority of Bangladesh. Aware of the importance of the active participation of the faithful, the Catholic Church is encouraging its members to present themselves. Theophil Nokrek, secretary of the Bishopsian Bishops' Conference Commission, told AsiaNews that "in the past few Christians were active in politics. Now things are changing and many people are getting involved ". Then he adds: "Christians play a fundamental role in education, in the health sector and in the socio-economic field. If we do not enter politics, as Christians we can not represent our work and our values among other communities ".
Christians are publicly announcing their involvement in politics. Among the eight to present themselves, the Catholic politician from Khulna [in the south of the country] Gloria Sarker, will run for the Al. "I am at the service of all people of every religion -she says - They are the ones who have encouraged me to become involved. I hope I can obtain the necessary votes to continue to serve our people ". John Gomes instead presents himself with the BNP. "I hope to get the final nomination," he reports.