Sketch fair election formula thru' consensus: US envoy | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 10, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 10, 2011

Sketch fair election formula thru' consensus: US envoy

US Ambassador James F Moriarty speaks at a roundtable discussion, organised by Diplomatic Correspondents' Association, Bangladesh, (DCAB), at Jatiya Press Club in the city yesterday. Photo: STAR

Outgoing US Ambassador James F Moriarty yesterday said top political parties through consensus can sketch out a system guaranteeing free and fair general elections if the caretaker government system is removed.
Elections can be free and fair without a caretaker government but a neutral system should be put in place, he said in talks with Diplomatic Correspondents' Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Jatiya Press Club.
Moriarty talked about strengthening the Election Commission so it can ensure that the next general elections are held in a free and fair manner, as that happens in India.
Asked if he foresees another military intervention like that of 1/11, he said, "The military understands that the political and the elected representatives of the people have to lead the country."
Mentioning some incidents including the student unrest at Dhaka University during the last caretaker government rule, he said those incidents remind the army personnel that people of Bangladesh demand democracy.
He outright rejected the view that former US ambassador Patricia A Butenis Patrice Butanes had supported the military-backed caretaker government and said the US had had nothing to do with the 1/11 episode.
Asked whether the US still remains "deeply troubled" over the issue of Prof Muhammad Yunus, the ambassador said what the US wants is that nothing is done, which may affect effectiveness and integrity of Grameen Bank.
Prof Yunus commanded great admiration for what the bank has done in poverty alleviation. Apart from Nobel Peace Prize, he was given prestigious awards internationally including the highest awards by the US president and the US Congress.
On the US training to the Rapid Action Battalion that is being accused of human rights violation by international rights watchdogs, Moriarty said the US has given human rights training so the Rab can play an effective role in maintaining law and order.
Since there are allegations against Rab members of killing people, he said the government should thoroughly and effectively investigate every incident of the killings and make it public with credible explanation.
DCAB President Raheed Ejaz chaired the interaction while its Acting General Secretary Bashir Ahmed made welcome address.

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