Observers find no irregularities | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 01, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, January 01, 2009

Observers find no irregularities

Say polls were held in a fair, transparent manner

Foreign election observers yesterday said they did not find any instance of 'election manipulation' in the December 29 parliamentary polls as alleged by the BNP.
The observers at separate press conferences in the capital said the election was free, fair and transparent and held in a peaceful atmosphere with high turnout.
They also urged all political parties including BNP to accept the election results for the sake of strengthening democracy in Bangladesh.
The winners should be generous and help the opposition parties play a constructive role in the parliament, they said, adding that the polls marked an important step towards re-establishing democratic governance in Bangladesh.
Disclosing the preliminary findings, European Union Election Observation Mission's (EUEOM) Chief Observer Graf Lambsdorff said apart from minor technical difficulties, professionalism, transparency and credibility were the hallmarks of the ninth parliamentary elections.
Referring to BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia's claims, Lambsdorff said the results were accurate and they did not find any instance of fraud in the election process and vote counting.
He said there was allegation of irregularities in a few polling centres but it did not have any impact on the election results.
Commonwealth Observer Group in an interim statement said they have not found any evidence that supports the allegation of election manipulation.
"We have found the December 29 parliamentary election has been credible and met many of the benchmarks for democratic elections to which Bangladesh has committed itself," said Commonwealth Observer Group Chairman Cassam Uteem.
He hoped that the BNP-led four-party alliance would play an effective role in the parliament and make constructive criticism for the well-being of the people and the country.
The international election observer delegation of National Democratic Institute (NDI) said the parliamentary elections were well administered and held in a peaceful environment meeting international standards.
Co-chair of the delegation and former US ambassador to Bangladesh Howard B Schaffer said, "The opposition should accept the result, attend the parliament and be loyal to the constitution."
He said it would be a tragic mistake if the elected simply carry on with the winner-take-all approach and the use of money, muscle power and hartal come back again.
Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) Foundation, an election observer in Asia, also made similar remark.

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