AL expects ‘absolute majority’

December 29, 2008

Foreign observers hope polls will be free, fair
Staff Correspondent
The European Parliamentary Party, the European Union polls observation team and the National Democratic Institute on Sunday hoped that Bangladesh’s ninth parliamentary polls today would be free and fair through which the people would elect a new government.
‘We hope that the best election will be held this time in Bangladesh’, Charles Tannock, chairman of a 10-member delegation of the European Parliamentary Party and the EU polls observation team, told reporters after a meeting with Awami League president Sheikh Hasina at her Sudha Sadan residence.
He hoped that all the political parties would accept the results of the elections. ‘Nothing untoward would happen in the elections’, he added.
The Awami League on Sunday said it was confident of winning an absolute majority in today’s polls.
The party’s election steering committee co-chairman HT Imam expressed the optimism while talking with reporters after the meeting.
‘We, along with our allies, will win nearly 200 seats in the general elections out of 299 parliamentary constituencies [in which polls will be held today]….We are expecting an absolute majority’, Imam said.
‘The EPP team wanted to have Sheikh Hasina’s opinion about the elections and she told them she was satisfied with the voter list and the transparent ballot boxes to be used in the polls’, Imam said.
Imam, also a former cabinet secretary, said the AL had appraised the EPP delegation of its stance on the election observation. ‘We believe there should be international polls observers before, during and after the polls.’
He said that at the meeting the AL had also expressed its reservations about some local poll monitoring groups in which there were some identified terrorists.
Earlier in the morning, a seven-member delegation of the International Republican Institute led by Cherry Newman, its special councillor on African affairs, and a three-member team of the British Parliamentary Board headed by Baroness Paula Manzila Uddin called on Hasina. They also hoped that the election in Bangladesh would be held in a free, fair and peaceful manner without any trouble.
British high commissioner in Bangladesh Stephen Evans was present with the delegation.
In the afternoon, a seven-member team of US-based NDI led by Howard B Schaffer met the AL chief at her Sudha Sadan residence.
‘We saw in 2001 how harmful the local election observers can be for the country and we request all foreign election observers to be more vigilant this time to ensure a free and fair election’, Imam said.
He said the NDI team had appreciated the positive campaigns and remarks of Sheikh Hasina.
Schaffer said they hoped that all the political parties would accept the results of the elections and stressed the need for active participation of the opposition parties after the polls in order to make the new parliament effective.
Former ambassadors Mohammad Zamir and Ziauddin Ahmed were present at the meetings.

Courtesy: newagebd.com

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