EU to send election observers to Bangladesh's December polls
The European Union will send election observers to monitor Bangladesh's general election, after concluding that an atmosphere for "a free, fair and credible election" has been created in the country, an official statement said Tuesday.
"The decision was taken following the repeal of elements of the Emergency Power Rules in early November," the office of the European Commission delegation in Dhaka said, reported dpa.
Delegation chief Stefan Frowein, who earlier had said that the EU usually refrains from deploying an Election Observer Mission under a state of emergency, noted the decision constituted a recognition of the impressive progress made by officials to foster an atmosphere conducive for a fair election.
Bangladesh's military-backed government relaxed provisions of its emergency rule to allow limited electioneering by the parties and candidates for the general election slated for December 18.
The EU said experts on election assessment, who will form the Core Team of the mission, arrived in the country on November 7. They will be led by Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a European Parliament member.
"The European Commission knows that both the international community and the Bangladeshi people have looked forward to this decision on the re-deployment (of the EU team)," the statement quoted Benita Ferrero-Waldner, commissioner for External Relations, as saying.
"The European institutions and the member states have attached great importance to, and have supported, the political and legal reforms in Bangladesh since January 2007 that aimed at setting the right conditions for credible and democratic elections in December 2008," she said.
The EU sends short-term, long-term and core observation missions to monitor the situation before, during, and after the polls for three weeks. Some 150 observers will be deployed on voting day.