US, EU to dispatch observers to monitor B'desh elections

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Dhaka, Oct 22 (UNI) The United States and the European Union will dispatch long-term observers to monitor Bangladesh general elections slated for December 18.

The US will dispatch 120 observers on a long-term mission and first batch will be here in the first week of November to look over the run-up to the crucial polls.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh James Moriarty renewed his hope that the conditions were going to be in place for holding free, fair and credible elections.

The European Union will send a 10-member core team to Dhaka on November 6 to talk to political parties, election officials and civil society to see if the ground situation is appropriate for them to send full-fledged election observation mission.

European Commission (EC) Ambassador in Dhaka Ambassador Stefan Frowein said usually the EC does not send observers to observe elections under the state of emergency. However, he said the EC will be waiting to see whether the emergency will be relaxed or lifted by the incumbent caretaker government.

Political parties are demanding full withdrawal of the state of emergency to create enabling condition for credible elections but the present military-backed caretaker government prefers to relax the emergency rules instead of full lifting.

The general elections were scheduled for January 22 last year but political violence over the elections forced President Iajuddin Ahmed to promulgate the state of emergency and postpone the elections.

UNI XC ARB SB KN1939

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