PM Sheikh Hasina urges Commonwealth to send diversified observers to see next polls

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Published on May 8, 2023
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Prime Minister today urged the Commonwealth to send diversified election observers to oversee the next parliamentary polls in Bangladesh as Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland paid a courtesy call on her at her place of residence here.

"Our Prime Minister raised the issue of election and proposed the Commonwealth to send diversified election observers to oversee the next parliamentary polls," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told a news briefing after the meeting at the bilateral meeting room of the Claridge's Hotel on 7th May.

In reply, the Commonwealth secretary general said they want to help Bangladesh in holding the next general election in a peaceful, fair and participatory manner, Momen added.

Baroness Patricia Scotland said they have helped to hold fair elections in some member countries of the organisation.

In that case, she said, a political commitment is required from all the political parties that they would take part in the election, accept the election result and will not go for violence whether they lose or win in the election.

"They have said that they want to help us (in holding a free and fair election) and we have welcomed them. We also want the election to be held in a free and fair manner," Momen said.

The Commonwealth secretary-general has also offered to train Bangladesh election officers at the district level as they did in the past.

Sheikh Hasina, also President of the Awami League, said she had established democracy and voting rights of the people through prolonged struggle after returning to Bangladesh in 1981.

The Prime Minister said her government has strengthened the democratic process in the country by making the Election Commission (EC) independent and powerful by enacting pragmatic law.

Pointing at the BNP and Jatiya Party, she said her party was formed from the masses while some parties originated from the cantonment.

Apart from the election, artificial intelligence, climate, mental health and digital connectivity prominently came up in the discussion, Momen said.

The Premier has expressed her desire that Bangladesh wants to lead in artificial intelligence from June next as the country is now leading the Commonwealth's business-to-business event, the foreign minister said.

He went on to say that the Commonwealth Secretary-General has agreed on the issues.

PM's Speechwriter M Nazrul Islam and Bangladesh High Commissioner in London Saida Muna Tasneem, among others, were present at the briefing.