EC proved its ‘impartiality, capability through fair polls’ in 5 recent city elections: Monitoring Forum tells EU delegates
Leaders of the Election Monitoring Forum (EMF) today (July 11, 2023) informed the Election Exploratory Mission from European Union (EU) that the Election Commission has proven its “impartiality, courage and capability” in holding free and fair polls in five city corporations held recently. Though a major political party did not participate in the recently held elections in the five city corporations, a large part of their former councilors and local leaders took part in the elections and were elected, the EMF leaders said. Read: US doesn't consider it interference when other countries discuss its elections: State Dept In all the local elections that have been held recently, the EMF leaders said, they have observed that the government has not interfered or influenced the elections and has fully cooperated with the Election Commission in maintaining law and order situation. Chairman of the Election Monitoring Forum, Professor Mohammad Abed Ali, was present during the meeting. Advisor of the Election Monitoring Forum and former Election Commissioner Brigadier General (Retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury, directors of the forum – Vice-Chancellor of DUET Prof M Habibur Rahman and BUET Pro-Vice-Chancellor Prof Abdul Jabbar Khan – were also present at the meeting. Read: Momen welcomes foreign observers during maiden interaction with British envoy During the meeting, the EMF leaders said that the current Election Commission has recently implemented strict monitoring of law-and-order situation with CCTV cameras to ensure the safety of voters in local elections and cancellation of elections due to irregularities in Gaibandha by-election has boosted the confidence of voters.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas on Tuesday (May 30, 2023) said people who support free and fair election and work towards that end have nothing to fear regarding the new US visa policy. “I don’t see any disagreement at all,” he told reporters, noting that they in the US want the same what the people of Bangladesh want – a free and fair election. Ambassador Haas made the remarks while responding to questions on the new visa policy after a function in Dhaka. He said the US sees positive things rather than challenges. “We have a very strong partnership on trade, security relations, people to people ties, healthcare, and good conversation on the upcoming election.” Read more: Widened Dhaka-Washington relationship allows to freely debate on differences: Shahriar Haas said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has made a clear commitment to hold a free and fair election in Bangladesh. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in his announcement said the holding of free and fair elections is the responsibility of everyone—voters, political parties, the government, the security forces, civil society, and the media." The ambassador spoke at the inaugural ceremony of a photo exhibition titled “Roots of Friendship: 50 Years of U.S.- Bangladesh Relations” at Edward M. Kennedy Center. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam spoke as the chief guest. Read more: New US visa policy to curb money laundering: Momen
BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Tuesday termed ‘ridiculous’ Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s remark on fair elections under her Awami League government. “The Prime Minister said in the UK that fair and beautiful polls are held during the Awami League government. Even, a horse would laugh hearing your words,” he said dismissing the PM’s claim. Read:Shameful for PM to be questioned by BBC on fair polls: BNP Speaking at a rally, the BNP leader said every person in Bangladesh knows that she made a fake claim on fair elections. “So, a slogan--Sheikh Hasina is fake--would be shouted all over Bangladesh.” Khilgaon zone of Dhaka south city unit arranged the rally in Khilgaon Jorpukur field protesting the price hike of fuel, daily essentials and the killing of three opposition leaders in Bhola and Narayanganj in police firing and attacks on different programmes of the party.
Slamming Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her comments that free and fair elections are held in Bangladesh under Awami League only, BNP senior leader Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury on Monday said even the ruling party leaders and activists do not believe it. “In the BBC interview, the prime minister was asked whether there will be a fair election in Bangladesh in the future. She said fair polls are held during the Awami League. Will a person in Bangladesh believe what she said? Even those who belong to the ruling party don’t believe it!" he said. Speaking at a rally, the BNP leader also said Sheikh Hasina should be ashamed of being asked such a question. “When a head of government was asked this question, she should understand its motive. Why was the head of the government of Bangladesh asked this question?” The leaders and workers of BNP shouted slogans at that time saying ‘fake’ as a sign of disapproval of the PM’s comment. Khosru, a BNP standing committee member, also said BBC would not ask the British or Nepalese Prime Minister such a question. He asked the Prime Minister to realise why she faced such a question. The BNP leader also described the Prime Minister's statement in the BBC interview about incidents of enforced disappearance in Bangladesh as a ‘lie’. Also read: BNP leader Amir Khosru lands in jail Mohakhali zone of Dhaka north city unit arranged the rally on a field adjacent to Gausul Azam Jam-e-Mosque protesting the price hike of fuels, daily essentials and the killing of three opposition leaders in Bhola and Narayanganj in police firing. Earlier, in an interview with BBC aired on Sunday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “Only during AL governments, you can see free and fair elections.” Khosru said their party will continue its current movement together with people of all walks of life and political parties and civil society members to make it a success. He said they will intensify the movement in the days to come by announcing an outline for the simultaneous movement. The BNP leader said Awami League is now depending on bureaucrats and government officials instead of politicians to cling to power. “You have noticed that there is now no leadership in the hands of Awami League’s politicians… they have now handed over their political leadership to government officials," he said. BNP executive committee member Tabith Awal who was injured in an attack reportedly by the ruling party on a candlelight vigil programme of BNP in the city’s Banani area on Saturday joined the rally with bandages on his hands and head. Speaking at the rally, he said, “By the grace of Allah I came before you today. I want to say firmly, no matter how many wounds we receive in heads and hands, Every BNP leader and every worker will remain in the field.” Tabith said no BNP leader and activist will return home until a government of people is established by ousting the current Awami League one. "We will meet you on the battlefield and carry forward our programmes together with you.”
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. Read:Estimate of Bangladesh money in Swiss Banks is “purely speculative”: Swiss Envoy
BNP Senior Joint Secretary General Ruhul Kabir Rizvi on Monday said Awami League’s assurance of a fair election is only a trap to deceive their party. “Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader assured that the next election would be fair… We would like to say joining the polls without a non-party neutral government means falling into their trap of deception,” he said. Speaking at a press conference at BNP’s Nayapaltan central office, Rizvi also said what the ruling party leaders and the prime minister are saying about the fair election is nothing but a deception. He also said people cannot understand what Obaidul Quader exactly meant by 'fair election', as there is an 'Awami version' of the fair election which the country’s people have been watching for 14 years. Also read: AL wants election with participation of all parties: Hasan Mahmud The BNP leader also said the definition of Awami League’s fair voting is to hold the election without votes like in 2014 or stuffing ballots at night like in 2018 by using all the forces to subdue the people and by establishing a reign of terror. He said people will be able to cast their votes as per their wish only if the election is held under a non-party government. “That’s why we’re on a movement for holding the election under a non-party neutral government.” Rizvi also opposed the government’s plan to hold the election using the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), noting many countries already backed off from this system due to various faults. He said ballot papers must be used instead of EVM for holding a fair, credible and transparent election. The BNP leader said people got a message in advance that the next polls will be marred with massive rigging and vote robbery from Obaidul Quader’s comment that the election will be held using EVM and the Election Commission will remain neutral. He also slammed the ruling party general secretary for his remark that BNP must join the election for protecting its existence. “Obadiul Quader’s remarks give an impression that he is not only the general secretary of Awami League, but also an advisor of BNP.” Also read: BNP forms committee to probe New Market violence Rizvi said the anarchy over soybean oil across the country has manifested that the government has no programme other than plundering public money. "The government has created a scope for profiteers to make money by increasing the price of soybean oil."