US ‘concerned over violence, irregularities in Bangladesh polls’
New York: The United States has expressed concern over reports of violence and irregularities during Bangladesh elections that it asserted “undermined faith in the electoral process”.
“We note with concern credible reports of harassment, intimidation and violence in the pre-election period that made it difficult for many opposition candidates and their supporters to meet, hold rallies, and campaign freely,” State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said Tuesday.
“We are also concerned that election-day irregularities prevented some people from voting, which undermined faith in the electoral process,” he added.
Palladino urged all all political parties to refrain from violence and requested the Election Commission to “work constructively with all sides to address claims of irregularities”.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami Party scored a landslide victory winning 288 of the 300 seats it contested.
The opposition alliance, Jatiya Oikya Front, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, who is in prison on corruption charges, called the elections “faracial” and demanded a repoll.
Her Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) is the main constituent of the Front, which won just seven seats.
At least 17 people were killed in clashes between the ruling and opposition parties on Sunday.
Palladino said that the participation of all the major opposition parties in Sunday’s parliamentary election was a positive development after their 2014 boycott.
He also commended the tens of millions of Bangladeshis who voted in the election.
Palladino added: “Bangladesh’s impressive record of economic development and respect for democracy and human rights are mutually reinforcing, and we look forward to continue working with the ruling government and opposition towards advancing these interrelated goals.”