UN calls for violence-free polls in Bangladesh

New York: The United Nations (UN) has called on all stakeholders in Bangladesh to “ensure an environment free of violence, intimidation and coercion before, during and after the elections” on December 27.

Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman for UN Secretary-General, released a statement on Thursday which mentioned, “All Bangladeshi citizens, including minorities and women, must feel safe and confident in exercising their right to vote. Civil society and electoral observers should be fully supported to play their role in the process.”
“The Secretary-General reiterates the continued commitment of the United Nations to support a peaceful and democratic Bangladesh,” the statement added.

The call for peace and free, fair and inclusive elections comes in the midst of continuing violence across the state before the 11th General Elections in Bangladesh which are scheduled for December 30.

There have been attacks on party leaders across party lines during campaigning for Sunday’s elections which will see the ruling Bangladesh Awami League-led Grand Alliance locking horns against the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)-led Jatiya Oikya Front (National Unity Front) and Left Democratic Alliance.

Around 300 constituencies of the 350-member Parliament are up for grabs. Incumbent Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is seeking to win a third term during the elections.