US, UK statements voice disappointment at widespread rigging, intimidation in city polls


Expressing disappointment over yesterday’s city corporation polls in Dhaka and Chittagong, the US and the UK have called for a swift, impartial and transparent investigation into the allegations of election irregularities.

“We are disappointed by widespread, first-hand, and credible reports of vote-rigging, intimidation and violence that have occurred at polling stations today [yesterday], and the BNP’s decision to boycott the city corporation polls,” said a statement of the US embassy in Dhaka.

The statement also said, “It is important that irregularities be investigated transparently and impartially, and we call on all parties involved to work within the law and avoid violence at all costs.”

“We condemn in the strongest terms any use of violence for political objectives,” it added.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat in a tweet has expressed disappointment “to hear so many first-hand reports of intimidation and violence and their effect on today’s [yesterday’s] city polls in Bangladesh.”

bernicat tweet

“Winning at any cost is no victory at all,” she tweeted again.

Meanwhile, in a post-election statement, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Gibson expressed his disappointment “that the BNP felt it had to withdraw its endorsed candidates from the city corporation elections partway through voting” yesterday.

He hoped that the decision would not result in violence or disruption in Dhaka and Chittagong over the next few days. “All parties must ensure that their response to today’s [yesterday’s] events remains within the law,” he said.

“It will be important that all allegations of irregularity are investigated swiftly and impartially.”

“The responsibility remains with all parties, the Election Commission, and law enforcement agencies, to ensure that elections can take place in an ordered atmosphere to allow all voters the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights,” he said in the statement.

Both the envoys visited polling centres in the capital yesterday.

Source: Daily Star