EU halts deployment of polls monitoring mission

Ero logo copy (648 x 430)‘It’s ready to observe inclusive polls’

DHAKA : The European Union (EU) has decided to halt ‘for now’ the preparations for the deployment of an Election Observation Mission in Bangladesh as main political parties here could not create the necessary conditions for transparent, inclusive and credible elections, reports UNB.
“The High Representative regrets that the main political forces in Bangladesh have been unable to create the necessary conditions for transparent, inclusive and credible elections, despite many efforts, including most recently under UN auspices,” said a statement issued from Brussels on Friday. The spokesperson of Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, issued the statement.
The EU decision came a day after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had announced that a fresh election would be held after dissolving the 10th parliament if an understanding is reached. But, she also mentioned, the BNP must shun violence and sever ties with Jamaat-e-Islami to make that happen. The High Representative has urged all sides to refrain from violence, and encouraged all political leaders to respect the right of the people of Bangladesh to express their democratic choice. “The EU remains nonetheless ready to observe the elections should the political conditions allow for the holding of transparent, inclusive and credible elections,” the statement added. On November 30, Catherine Ashton, in her statement on the preparation for general election in Bangladesh, mentioned that the EU is ready to consider sending election observers as it did in 2008. However, this depends on the political and security situation in Bangladesh.  The EU also called on the leaders of all political parties in Bangladesh to agree on a mutually acceptable formula so as to facilitate the holding of elections which fully reflect the wishes of people and urged political leaders to refrain from any actions that could spark further violence. As per the current election schedule, there is no scope for the main opposition BNP to join the 10th Parliamentary Election billed for January 5. Meanwhile, the third largest party – Jatiya Party – is clearly divided on the matter of joining and boycotting the polls. The BNP-led 18-party alliance is on a nonstop movement for a non-party neutral government and has been demanding cancellation of polls schedule.