Commonwealth for meaningful talks
Condemning the politically-motivated violence in the run-up to the January 5 election, the Commonwealth has called for a purposeful dialogue between the major political parties to agree on a framework for an inclusive election.
“It is a welcome development that leaders of the major political parties have expressed a readiness to talk, with early and inclusive elections in mind,” said Commonwealth Secretariat spokesperson Richard Uku in a statement issued on February 3.
The Commonwealth is ready to support such a dialogue aimed at an election that "fully reflects the will of the people and respects the principle of democratic constitutionalism", according to the statement.
It says the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 53 independent countries, is also willing to assist the Election Commission in strengthening further its functions and effectiveness.
The Commonwealth is committed to upholding and promoting democratic culture, including the inalienable right of all citizens to participate in free and fair elections, the statement adds.
Richard Uku said the Commonwealth continued to follow political developments in Bangladesh closely after the election.
“The Commonwealth stands ready to provide whatever support may be considered helpful in the post-election period."
Attacks on the minority communities have also been criticised. The Commonwealth attaches the greatest importance to the respect for diversity and equality, said its spokesperson, appreciating that violence against the minorities had declined.
He lauded political leaderships in Bangladesh for speaking in public against violence and attacks on minorities.
The Commonwealth had not deployed election observers for the January 5 parliamentary election as it was not inclusive.
On January 6, its secretary general in a statement expressed disappointment over the election and called for a dialogue that would lead to a more inclusive and peaceful political process, in which the will of the people could be fully expressed.