WASHINGTON/UNITED NATIONS - The United States said Monday that the parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, marred by violence and low voter turn-out, do not appear credible and encouraged fresh vote which is free, fair and peaceful.
“The United States is disappointed by the recent Parliamentary elections in Bangladesh,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said in a statement on the polls that were boycotted by the Opposition parties in protest against Prime Minister Hasina Wasjid’s refusal to step down and hold polls under a neutral setup.
With more than half of the seats uncontested and most of the remainder offering only token opposition, the results of the just-concluded elections do not appear to credibly express the will of the Bangladeshi people. While it remains to be seen what form the new government will take, the United States commitment to supporting the people of Bangladesh remains undiminished,” the spokesperson added.
The statement further said: “To that end, we encourage the Government of Bangladesh and opposition parties to engage in immediate dialogue to find a way to hold as soon as possible elections that are free, fair, peaceful, and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people.”
The spokesperson also condemned in the strongest terms the violence from all quarters that continues to mark the prevailing political impasse.
“Violence is not an acceptable element of the political process; we call on all to stop committing further violence. Bangladesh’s political leadership – and those who aspire to lead – must do everything in their power to ensure law and order and refrain from supporting and fomenting violence, especially against minority communities, inflammatory rhetoric, and intimidation. In the coming days, as Bangladesh seeks a way forward that is in keeping with its strong democratic traditions, we call upon the Government of Bangladesh to provide political space to all citizens to freely express their political views. We also call strongly on the opposition to use such space peacefully and responsibly, and for all sides to eschew violence, which is not part of democratic practice and must stop immediately.”
UN DECLINES TO ENDORSE ELECTIONS
Meanwhile, the United Nations on Monday shied away from endorsing Bangladesh parliamentary elections, which were boycotted by the main opposition party, saying it was up to the people of the South Asian country to assess the credibility of the polls marked by violence and low voter turn-out.
“The United Nations neither administered nor observed these elections,” Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq told the noon briefing when asked for comments.
In the meantime,” he said, “the UN will continue supporting efforts around democratic processes in accordance with our principles of inclusiveness, non-violence, reconciliation and dialogue.”