Government Policy

Bangladesh on right track to holding ‘free, fair, participatory’ polls: FS

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said Bangladesh is on the right track to holding a "free, fair and participatory" national election, noting that there is no issue of interference by foreign countries.

"A new election commission has been formed and it is talking to all parties. So, it is preparing for a free fair and participatory election. There is no issue of interference by the foreign countries," he said.

As a nation, he said, Bangladesh is heading on the right path and if anyone has any doubt about it is up to them.

The foreign secretary said they lodge protests when they see any interference in domestic affairs beyond the Vienna Convention and other diplomatic norms.

He, however, said the government finds no problem if there is a "healthy and constructive" dialogue that benefits all.

The foreign secretary, while talking to Jamuna Television, said these countries had faced some problems or are still facing some problems, and they also have come to this point by overcoming each stage. "So, we can learn from them, too."

Sunday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal reiterated the commission's commitment to hold an "inclusive and acceptable" national election to fulfil the expectation of all.

Heads of missions representing the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries had a "constructive meeting” with the CEC and discussed the preparations for the next parliamentary polls.

"They (foreign envoys) will be happy, too, if there is an inclusive, acceptable, free and fair election," he told reporters after the meeting.

Kazi Habibul said they will do whatever they need to do to ensure a free and fair election.

Also Read: Foreign diplomats better not comment on Bangladesh's election, says foreign secretary

The CEC said the envoys know very well that some political parties are still telling them that they will not take part in the election. He, however, hoped that they would be able to reach a consensus by removing the distance.

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson who attended the meeting said fair and transparent elections are vital for democracy.

"The UK and like-minded partners will continue to encourage a free and participatory process," Dickson tweeted after the meeting.

The OECD is a group of countries including the US, Canada, Turkey, Germany and France which aims to assist economic development, raise living standards and promote growth in world trade.

European Union (EU) Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley also attended the meeting. "Wide-ranging exchange today between heads of mission from the OECD countries and the Bangladesh Election Commission on preparations for the December 2023 parliamentary polls," he tweeted.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas and Swiss Ambassador to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard were present.

"There was a constructive and open exchange between the Bangladesh Election Commission and the OECD countries' heads of mission. We welcome the commitment made by the commission to hold free, fair and credible national elections," Ambassador Nathalie tweeted.

CEC Kazi Habibul said such a meeting is a tradition before the election and they wanted to know about the rules and regulations of the upcoming parliamentary elections and the preparations. "We have informed them of our activities."

Source: United News of Bangladesh