Holding fair polls requires equal role from all sides: Ambassador Haas

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Wednesday laid emphasis on collective efforts to hold free and fair elections in Bangladesh, noting that holding fair elections is a complicated task.

Sharing the US experience, the envoy said holding free and fair elections is a “complicated task” that requires involvement of every part of the society.

“And just to be clear, the United States does not favor any political party in Bangladesh over any other,” he said, adding that the United States is proud of their close partnership with Bangladesh over the past 50 years.

While speaking at the launching ceremony of an e-learning platform titled "Politics Matters" at a city hotel, Haas said the Election Commission, government, media, law enforcement agencies, civil society and political parties – everyone has an important role to play.

The envoy said if anyone of them fails to fulfill their responsibility or any one of them prevents another to fulfill their responsibility, free and fair elections become nearly impossible.

He said they continue to be a strong supporter of this country’s efforts to improve the quality of life for all its citizens.

The ambassador said a fundamental way to improve the quality of life for citizens is to give them the opportunity to participate in free, fair, and transparent elections held in accordance with international standards.

“What better way is there to allow the people to share their voices on what matters to them than through their ability to freely cast their ballot?” he mentioned.

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Holding fair polls requires equal role from all sides: Ambassador Haas

The ambassador hoped that you will encourage political leaders and grassroots activists from all parties in Bangladesh to take advantage of this platform to build Bangladesh’s democracy.

USAID's 'Strengthening Political Landscape' project, implemented by Democracy International, launched the platform to bring political knowledge and skills to the fingerprints of Bangladeshi political leaders and enthusiasts across the country.

Information and Broadcasting Minister and Awami League Joint Secretary Hasan Mahmud, BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury, Jatiya Party Presidium Member Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary and Democracy International Chief of Party Dana L. Olds also spoke at the event.

Dana Olds said to combat political apathy and attract more youth and women’s participation in politics and elections, the political culture must improve through ensuring political party members are well trained and driven first by their responsibility to citizens and understand and embrace healthy politics.

Politics Matters offers eight courses -democracy and elections; conflict mitigation; political campaign; community advocacy and political parties; women’s political empowerment, effective practices for political parties, political leadership development, training of trainers.

Each of these modules includes animation films, infographics, and quizzes along with reading materials to assist learning. Using this online platform, political leaders can develop their political skills at their own pace.

Source: United News of Bangladesh