A senior United Nations political official has called for Bangladesh’s next parliamentary elections to be “peaceful, inclusive and credible,” and has encouraged those taking part to work together and to engage in constructive dialogue towards these ends.
The UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, made the comments in the South Asian nation on Sunday, at the end of four-day visit conducted at the request of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
While in the capital, Dhaka, according to the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), Mr. Fernandez-Taranco met with top government and political party leaders – including the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister – as well as with national electoral officials, in order to exchange views on the political situation in the country and ongoing UN electoral assistance.
He also met with representatives of civil society, the media and the diplomatic community, to exchange views.
In a news release, DPA noted that Mr. Fernandez-Taranco stressed to all interlocutors that the next parliamentary elections should be “peaceful, inclusive and credible to give voters a real choice at the polls.”
“He said that from the UN perspective, free, fair and credible elections would present an opportunity for the nation to further consolidate its democracy and that a credible election and strengthened democracy would contribute to inclusive economic growth and social achievements as well,” the Department said.
Mr. Fernandez-Taranco underlined that a conducive environment for free elections must be promoted by national actors through political dialogue and supported by the people,” DPA added. “In this context, he regretted the violence that erupted during the road blockade on 9 December 2012 which resulted in death of several people and the injury of many others.”
To create such a conducive environment, the UN official encouraged all electoral stakeholders, in particular political parties, to work together and engage in constructive dialogue in order to achieve inclusive and successful parliamentary polls.
“He also called on political parties, civil society and media to engage constructively with the Bangladesh Election Commission to ensure a suitable and enabling environment in which it can effectively operate and fulfil its mandate,” DPA noted, adding that Mr. Fernandez-Taranco said that the UN will continue to work in support of the people of Bangladesh, including through technical assistance to the Bangladesh Election Commission.