US ambassador in Dhaka Earl R Miller on Tuesday said that all should be free to express their political views, campaign and hold peaceful rallies and meetings during electioneering.
‘All parties should feel free to participate in polls and political process,’ he told reporters after emerging from a meeting with chief election commissioner KM Nurul Huda at Nirbachon Bhaban in the capital.
In the meeting, they discussed the 11th parliamentary polls scheduled for December 30.
‘All should act peacefully and responsibly. All should avoid violence,’ he said, adding that violence would hinder the democratic process and serve those who wanted to undermine it.
The US envoy said that the US encouraged the government of Bangladesh to hold free, fear and credible elections as committed by prime minister Sheikh Hasina.
Miller said the US would not support any party or candidate but it would support democracy and democratic values.
‘I encourage everyone to participate in the election process and collective express the will of Bangladesh people,’ he said.
‘Strongest democracy flourishes with frequent and lively debate. Freedom of expression is vital for healthy democracy,’ he noted.
Miller said the US would support election observation teams and that the US-funded National Democratic Institute sent a five-member pre-assessment team to Bangladesh in October and the second pre-assessment mission in December.
NDI sub grant partner Asian Network for Free Election has dedicated two international electoral analysts to cover the election. They will be sending international long- and short-term observers.
The US embassy will deploy separate election observation teams across Bangladesh.
In cooperation with the UK and Switzerland, the US is funding 15,000 local election observers working under Election Working Group, a consortium of civil society organisations.
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