A group of foreign and local election observers, who monitored the December 30 parliamentary election, has termed the election free, fair, peaceful and on a par with major democratic countries in the world.
The foreign observers from Canada, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka, who came to Bangladesh at the invitation of Election Monitoring Forum (EMF) and SAARC Human Rights Foundation (SHRF), also said the just concluded election was “much better” than past elections in Bangladesh and could be a “glowing example for other democratic countries”.
The foreign observers were speaking at a press conference held at Jatiya Press Club yesterday to share what they have seen during their daylong visit to nine polling centres in the capital on Sunday.
“This was a world standard election…We can compare this with the elections of major democratic countries,” said former president of Kolkata Press Club, Kamal Bhattacharya.
The senior journalist told Bangladeshi media that he had covered two past elections in Bangladesh as a reporter, and this time he came as an observer.
“I talked to a number of voters standing in queues and inside polling centres and no one told me they faced any threat, harassment or intimidation,” he said.
He said voters had trust and confidence in the Election Commission and authorities concerned that they would follow the best practices in the election; the arrangements helped voters to cast their votes smoothly and with safety.
Another observer from Nepal, Advocate Mohamadin Ali, said Bangladesh has set the best example of a high standard election.
Former minister and member of Nepal Communist Party, Hakikullah Musalman, said he was immensely impressed to see such a peaceful, disciplined and orderly election in Bangladesh.
Speaking at the press conference, Prof Mohammed Abed Ali, executive director of Election Monitoring Forum, informed that the forum is an association of 31 organisations and 26 NGOs registered under the Election Commission.
He said they deployed 5,765 observers in 214 constituencies out of 299, who visited 17,165 centres. Abed Ali said it was a peaceful election and it was far better than previous ones.
Director General of External Publicity Wing of the Foreign Ministry, Mohammad Sarwar Mahmood; Canadian observers Tania Dawn Foster and Chally Foster; Nepalese Communist Party member and former MP Nazir Mia; lawyer of Kolkata Judge Court Gautom Ghosh; writer and researcher from Sri Lanka Mohammed Ehsan Iqbal; and SAARC Human Rights Foundation's director Masum Chowdhury were also present at the press conference.