Bangladesh’s future, dev rest on open, peaceful polls: British MP

December 23, 2018 7:54 pm39 commentsViews: 47

The people of Bangladesh deserve an open, free and fair election, says Anne Main, a British Conservative Party lawmaker and chairperson of all-party parliamentary group on Bangladesh.

In a newspaper article, she has shared her thinking of the Bangladesh election, insisting that the UK government, alongside international partners, must do everything it can to make a credible election a reality.

“As a keen observer of Bangladeshi politics, my interests are not in any party political differences, but for the advancement of democracy in the country that will hopefully lead to further growth and prosperity for the people there,” Ann Main obserserved in the article ‘Future of Bangladesh rests on open and peaceful election’ published Sunday Times on Wednesday.

She feels the election time is of “immense hope” for the country, but regrets that corruption and suppression of dissent remain a concern for the nation.

“Corruption continues to be an issue. There is a worrying trend of winning parties taking politically motivated legal actions against those that contested them at previous elections,” said the British member of parliament, who is also president of Conservative Friends of Bangladesh.

Terming the Digital Security Act a threat to freedom of expression, she said, “The vaguely worded and wide-ranging Digital Security Act, which was recently enacted into law, has the potential to be a big step backwards for society in Bangladesh. It gives powers to the state to effectively suppress free speech and political argument.”

“Criminalising speech against the state is a significant threat to a free and fair election at the end of December. The UK and the UN have rightly raised concerns about this piece of legislation and we should not be afraid to continue to do so,” she added.

Main applauded various development of Bangladesh including economic growth in the past 10 years, saying “The country has advanced so much over the last decade. Living standards, for the most part, are rising steadily and economic, technological and infrastructure improvements have been considerable.”

She, however, emphasised ensuring democratic environment for furthering the growth.

“The next step is for the country to have a truly open, free and democratic election to give the people the power to hold those in office to account and to feel properly represented as Bangladesh looks to the future,” she expressed her views.

Main urged the UK government to extend support to the election commission so that it can conduct a violence-free and fair election. “The UK government must offer support to the election commission to deliver a free and fair election that is not tarnished by violence and suppression of free speech.” Courtesy: reddit.com

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