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US calls for fresh polls in Bangladesh

Washington: The United States has called for fresh polls in Bangladesh that reflect the will of the people, noting that elections held earlier this week were neither credible nor fair.

“We believe Bangladesh still has an opportunity to demonstrate its commitment to democracy by organising free and fair elections that are credible in the eyes of the Bangladeshi people,” Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf told a briefing in Washington.

“We were disappointed by the recent parliamentary elections, especially because so many of the seats were uncontested or only had token opposition. Obviously, we believe going forward things should be done very differently,” she said.

While condemning violence committed by both the security forces and opposition workers, Ms Harf said that Bangladesh still had a chance to have a different future.

“(We) believe that violence has no place in a democratic process, and encourage Bangladesh going forward, the parties — all parties and all sides — to come together and move away from that kind of violence,” she said.

The US official urged all parties to “do everything in their power” to ensure law and order and refrain from supporting and fomenting violence, especially against minority communities.

Ms Harf also urged Bangladesh politicians to avoid inflammatory rhetoric, and intimidation.

“In the coming days, as Bangladesh seeks a way forward that is in keeping with its strong democratic traditions, we call upon the government of Bangladesh to provide political space to all citizens to freely express their political views,” Ms Harf said.

 

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