Bangladesh: UN welcomes successful, peaceful elections

31 December 2008

The United Nations today welcomed the successful 29 December parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, the first polls held in seven years in the South-East Asian nation, which has been beset by political violence and polarization in recent times.

“The United Nations congratulates the people of Bangladesh, whose interest in strengthening democracy in the country was reflected by the high voter turnout,” according to the Office for the Secretary-General's spokesperson.

The world body also acknowledged the key role played by the Election Commission in administering the polls in a transparent manner, which has been attested to by both domestic and international observers.

The spokesperson underscored the need for cooperation among political parties – including a constructive role for the opposition in Parliament – to ensure a peaceful transition.

Last month, Mr. Ban set up a high-level panel, headed by his former personal representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, to assess and report on the conduct of the last stages of the electoral process and developments in the immediate post-election period.

The three-member team, which also includes Bhojraj Pokharel, Nepal''s Chief Election Commissioner, and Aracelly Santana, the former deputy director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, is currently visiting Bangladesh for the second time.

The panel has held talks with the Election Commission, observes and political parties, and will brief Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon upon its return early next month on the conduct of the polls and developments in the immediate post-election period.


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