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Commonwealth for fair, participatory polls in Bangladesh

Commonwealth Secretary-General Patricia Scotland has called on the government of Bangladesh and the Election Commission to provide a conducive environment for free, fair, inclusive and participatory elections.

In statement, the Secretary-General conveyed her best wishes to the people of Bangladesh as they prepare to participate in their national election, reports the UNB.

The 11th national election of the country is set to be held from 8:00am to 4:00pm on Sunday amid tight security.

Scotland, who recently visited Bangladesh for discussion with government and opposition parties, has noted with concern reports, over the last several weeks of violence, intimidation and harassment against several candidates and political party activists.

The Secretary-General emphasised the importance of a political and campaign environment free from intimidation and fear, and called on all political parties and stakeholders to participate peacefully in the electoral process, according to the Commonwealth statement.

The Secretary-General has deployed a two-member senior staff team, who are already on the ground, to observe the polls and meet the Electoral Commission and some of the stakeholders who will participate in the election, including the Commonwealth’s international partners in Dhaka.

Scotland called on the government and the people of Bangladesh to uphold the Commonwealth Charter which recognises the inalienable right of individuals to participate in their national democratic processes, in particular, through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live.

Scotland said, ‘The people of Bangladesh must be allowed to participate, nurture and strengthen their national democratic processes and institutions.’



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