Roadmap for Bangladesh general elections by mid July

By Xinhua

Dhaka : The Bangladesh government has assured a visiting European Union (EU) delegation that the Election Commission (EC) would declare its roadmap by mid July for the next parliamentary elections promised to be held by next year.

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The five-member EU Troika delegation leader Andreas Michaelis, director general of German foreign ministry said this Saturday at a press conference at the end of four-day visit to Bangladesh.

He said his delegation has suggested the government to lift the ban on indoor politics at the earliest.

Michaelis told the newsmen they want to see a clean and credible election to be held in Bangladesh and would be content with the election in 2008.

He also said EU is willing to support Bangladesh political and financial reforms to ensure for a clean and credible election.

Michaelis said the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Shamsul Huda assured him of the roadmap for the election and of pilot project to prepare a new voter list and preparation of the list will be completed by the end of June.

EU delegation chief said a reliable voter list is required for a meaningful, comprehensive and fair election in Bangladesh and for that purpose the process may take some time.

He said they will welcome the EC's roadmap for the election and the EU Troika is considering the possibility of giving financial support through the UNDP project in the preparation of a voter list.

The EU is ready for sending an observer mission in due course of preparations for general elections.

The delegation arrived in Dhaka on June 6 to assess the political situation in Bangladesh and to see the human rights in the country in changed environment.

The general election was due in Bangladesh in January this year, but the first caretaker government headed by Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed failed to create an atmosphere for a clean election for which main opposition Awami League decided to boycott it and had announced a non-stop blockade program that forced Iajuddin to declare state of emergency and resign on January 11. The second caretaker government headed by Fakhruddin Ahmed took office on January 12.

Fakhruddin Ahmed has promised that the general election will be held by the end of 2008.