The European Parliament has announced that it will not observe the upcoming national election in Bangladesh.
“The European Parliament will not observe this electoral process and consequently will neither comment on the process nor on the results that will be announced afterwards. Moreover, there will be no European Union Election Observation Mission,” the EP said in a statement in Brussels yesterday.
The European Union's top diplomat in Dhaka indicated that the decision was taken due to “resource constraints”.
“No individual Member of the European Parliament [MEP] has been mandated to observe or comment on this electoral process on its behalf,” the co-chairs of the EP's Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group said in the statement.
“Any statements made by Members of the European Parliament on these elections therefore do not represent in any way the view of the European Parliament or the European Union.”
The statement was issued by MEPs David McAllister and Linda McAvan. The EU Delegation to Bangladesh also issued the same statement yesterday.
The EP stated its position on the election in its resolution of November 15, 2018. It hoped that the December 30 polls would be “peaceful, transparent and participatory so that citizens can express a genuine political choice”.
The EP called upon the political forces to refrain from any violence or instigation of violence during the electoral period.
The EU last month informed the Bangladesh Election Commission that it would not send its full-fledged election observer mission. It said only two “electoral experts” would be deployed.
As per that decision, electoral experts David Noel Ward and Eirini-Maria Gounari arrived in Bangladesh on Tuesday. The two will be staying here till January 15 next year.
Asked why the European Parliament decided not to observe the national election, which would be participated by all political parties, EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Rensje Teerink said the European Parliament sends a very small number of observers only when the EU deploys a fully-fledged observation mission.
“As this time the EU does not send an Election Observer Mission; the European Parliament is not sending observers. From the EU side, we see a growing demand from partner countries to have an EU Election Observer Mission. In the context of constrained resources, the EU has to make a difficult choice on where to deploy,” she told The Daily Star.
Earlier, the EU had cancelled sending election observer missions to Bangladesh in 2006 when the election was postponed amid violence and anarchy, and in 2014 when more than half of the 300 parliamentary seats were won uncontested.
EU AMBASSADOR MEETS ECs
“We hope a good contest and free and fair election will be held,” Ambassador Rensje Teerink told reporters after meeting the election commissioners at the Nirbachan Bhaban yesterday.
Teerink was accompanied by the two electoral experts of the EU. The experts, David Noel Ward and Erini-Maria Gourani, arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday to monitor the situation before and after the national election.
“We had a good meeting with the CEC and his colleagues,” she told reporters.
EC Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed at another briefing said the expert team expressed satisfaction over the atmosphere.