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The EU encourages all parties to vote and to avoid violence during the election : EU top diplomat

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জুলাই ৮, ২০২৩ ১২:৩২ পূর্বাহ্ণ
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The European Union (EU) has urged all political parties to participate in the election process stressing that violence should be avoided at all costs. 

“The EU encourages all parties and all citizens in Bangladesh to exercise their political rights and participate in the parliamentary elections,” said High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles.

In a letter addressed to Ivan Stefanek, a representative from Slovakia in the European Parliament, Josep Borrell said violence, on the other hand, has no place in these processes and “should be avoided at all costs.”

He said the EU and its Member States will continue to engage closely with the government and all stakeholders in Bangladesh on human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

Borrell said he also talked about dialogue between the main parties and there should be ample space for civil society.

“It is for all stakeholders to build confidence in the election process,” he said.

Six members of the European Parliament, including Ivan Stephanek, wrote a letter to Josep Borrell on 12 June, requesting him to play a role in ensuring fair elections in Bangladesh.

Borrell stated that the government of Bangladesh has extended an invitation to EU members to observe the upcoming elections.

He appreciated the decision and informed that as a preliminary measure, a fact-finding mission will be sent to Bangladesh to assess the current situation, examine the advantages, and evaluate the feasibility of conducting election observation.

The EU’s foreign policy chief said safeguarding the key freedoms, including freedom of expressions and freedom of assembly is essential for democratic processes.

A six-member Election Exploratory Mission (ExM) from the European Union (EU) will visit Bangladesh from July 8-23 to assess the situation on the ground ahead of the country’s upcoming national election.

The task of this mission will be to assess the scope, planning, budget, logistics and security of the main election observation mission, Mohammad Rafiqul Alam, Director General (Additional Charge) of Public Diplomacy Wing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told reporters at the weekly briefing on Thursday.

The EU delegation in Dhaka said it is willing to meet with government representatives, election-related authorities, representatives of the international community, officials of various law enforcement agencies, political leaders, civil society and media representatives during the investigation mission’s stay in Bangladesh.

The visit will take place at the invitation of the Election Commission and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has little to do in this regard, said the foreign ministry official.

Based on the information received from the fact-finding mission, the European Union will take a final decision on sending a full-fledged Election Observation Mission (EOM) before the next national elections.

The main objective of the ExM is to assess the “advisability, usefulness and feasibility” of a possible EU Election Observation Mission (EOM) for the upcoming parliamentary elections, according to the EU Mission in Dhaka.

European Union Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley had a series of meetings in the last couple of months including with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen.

In his meeting with Momen, they discussed the proposed deployment of an EU Election Observation Mission in Bangladesh ahead of the next election.

Momen welcomed observers from the EU and other countries during the elections.

The foreign minister reiterated that the government wants “free, fair and credible” general elections.

He informed the ambassador of the steps taken to empower the Election Commission to enable it to conduct a “free and fair” election.

Meanwhile, European Union’s Special Representative for Human Rights Eamon Gilmore is expected to visit Bangladesh last week of this month.

During his stay, he will hold meetings with concerned officials over the Rohingya issue and will visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s bazar district.

During his recent visit to Brussels, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam held a series of meetings including a meeting with Gilmore in first week of May

Shahriar invited Gilmore to visit Bangladesh.