Dhaka Courier

UN, US, EU, UK commend Sunday’s participatory polls

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The United Nations, United States and European Union (EU) have commended the voters and participation of the opposition parties of Bangladesh in the 11th parliamentary elections, held on December 30.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina termed the win of Awami League-led Grand Alliance as another victory for the people of the country in December -- the month of victory. Awami League alone secured 259 out of 299 parliamentary seats that went to polls.

“We call on all sides to exercise restraint and ensure a peaceful post-electoral environment, where people can maintain their right to assembly and expression,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric on December 31.

In a note on the polls, the spokesman said the United Nations is aware of violent incidents and reports of irregularities in the general election.

“We regret the loss of lives and injuries sustained by candidates and voters during the electoral campaign and on the election-day,” the note reads.

The UN encouraged the parties to address electoral complaints in a peaceful manner and through legal means.

“Violence and attacks on people and property are not acceptable,” said Dujarric.

The United States has commended the tens of millions of Bangladeshis who voted on December 30, as well as the decision of all major opposition political parties to participate.

The US also described it as a “positive development” after the boycotted election of 2014 and strongly encouraged all parties to refrain from violence and requested the Election Commission to work constructively with all sides to address claims of irregularities.

“The United States remains deeply invested in the future of Bangladesh and its democratic development,” said Robert Palladino, Deputy Spokesperson at US Department State in a statement on Bangladesh election on Tuesday.

Palladino said the United States is Bangladesh’s largest foreign investor, largest single-country market for Bangladeshi exports, and home to a large community of Americans of Bangladeshi origin.

“In this light, we note with concern credible reports of harassment, intimidation, and violence in the pre-election period that made it difficult for many opposition candidates and their supporters to meet, hold rallies, and campaign freely,” said the Deputy Spokesperson.

“Bangladesh’s impressive record of economic development and respect for democracy and human rights are mutually reinforcing, and we look forward to continue working with the ruling government and opposition towards advancing these interrelated goals,” said Palladino.

The EU has said the mobilisation of voters and the participation of the opposition in Sunday’s elections for the first time in 10 years reflect the aspirations of the people of Bangladesh to democracy.

“The relevant national authorities should now ensure a proper examination of allegations of irregularities and commit to full transparency in their resolution,” said EU spokesperson Maja Kocijancic on Tuesday commenting on parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.

The European Union expects the country to move forward towards democracy, respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms. “We’ll continue to support the work in this context, in the interest of the people of Bangladesh,” said the spokesperson.

The United Kingdom has welcomed the participation of all opposition parties in Sunday’s elections and said they will continue to support the people of Bangladesh in their aspirations for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future. “We’ve a broad and important partnership with Bangladesh, and a significant Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK,” said British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field on Tuesday commenting on the announcement of the unofficial results for Bangladesh’s general election.

  • UN, US, EU, UK commend Sunday’s participatory polls
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