Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Election Observation in Bangladesh

During the last week of December 2008, Barun Mitra was invited to join an International team of election observers proir to the Bangladesh elections. Below is an article on the same that was published in The Daily Star.

Dec 29 Election Fair, flawless

A 10-member foreign delegation that carried out a short-term observation of the December 29 parliamentary elections in a preliminary statement said it did not find any irregularities that might impact the legitimacy of the process or the results.

The delegation comprised of individuals from government and civil society organisations, from Australia, Canada, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mongolia, the Philippines, and the Republic of Korea, noted that the voting process appeared to be organised and calm, and election officials seemed to be generally familiar with the election laws and procedures, a press release said.
They urged the new government and all political stakeholders to work together to effectively meet the nation's challenges.

Under the auspices of Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership (APDP) and at the invitation of Bangladesh Election Commission (EC), the delegation observed various stages of the voting process at 88 polling centres in all six divisions of the country.

Prior to Election Day, the APDP observers were briefed by representatives of the EC, major political parties and domestic monitoring groups.

Based upon their observations, the observers felt that all stakeholders would work together to bring about the next phase of democratic governance, in which all political parties have constructive roles to play.

The APDP observers, however, recommended better dissemination of information on the electoral process to voters and improvement of the process within the polling centre to reduce the length of queues by adopting a simple and standardised procedure.
The Bangladeshi people have been without an elected government for almost two years and the high voter turnout and enthusiasm of voters is an indication of a great desire by the people to participate in the selection of their representatives to the parliament and the formation of a new government, read the press release.

The observers thanked the EC and all election workers and the staff at the International Republican Institute for facilitating this election observation mission.

(Asia Pacific Democratic Partnership, International Election Observation Mission for the Bangladesh Parliamentary Elections in December 2008.)

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