Committed to PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO KNOW
Vol. 5 Num 926 Sat. January 06, 2007  
   
Front Page


Act swiftly, impartially to create conditions for all-party polls
US urges CG, EC


The United States has urged the caretaker government and the Election Commission of Bangladesh to act "swiftly and impartially" to create conditions under which all parties can participate in the parliamentary elections.

"Our own support and observation missions will depend on whether such conditions are created," a statement issued by the US Embassy in Dhaka said yesterday.

The statement urged the Awami League and its alliance partners to reconsider their decision to boycott the January 22 general election.

"The voters of Bangladesh deserve a choice. We regret that the Awami League and its alliance partners intend to boycott the election. We urge them to reconsider and to offer the voters a chance to choose," it said.

The US statement said: "Elections need to take place in an open, peaceful atmosphere with the participation of all political parties so that the voters can have confidence in the outcome [of the election]."

"The process as it is unfolding certainly shows many imperfections. We urge the caretaker government and the Election Commission to act swiftly and impartially to create conditions under which all parties can participate," it added.

The United States also called on all parties to set aside narrow, partisan agendas and join together in serious, constructive dialogue to create an acceptable environment for participation by all major parties in the elections.

The statement said: "Violence has no place in a democratic society. While political protest is an integral part of democracy, violence is not."

It praised the political leaders for the restraint they have shown and called on all parties to reject violence and refrain from provocation.

Elections that are free, fair and credible are a critical part of any democracy. Past elections in Bangladesh were generally acknowledged to meet internationally recognised standards of fairness, the statement said.