The visiting European Union (EU) Election Exploratory Mission on Wednesday discussed with the Election Commission the arrangements the commission has taken for holding a credible election.
The seven-member EU team, led by EU Ambassador to Bangladesh William Hanna, sat in a parley with Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad at 9:30am at the latter’s EC secretariat office.
Emerging from the meeting, William Hanna told reporters, “We’ve the same aim to ensure free, fair and credible election… we discussed how the elections are organized here.”
He said they came to discuss technical cooperation and support to the EC for arranging the national election.
“We’ve discussed the EC’s preparation for holding elections. We’re satisfied with its technical preparation. We had a good and open discussion over all aspects. I believe that the EC is ready and carrying out a lot of works,” he added.
The EU has been supporting the Election Commission’s various projects for many years. Some most recent projects are now supported with 10 million Euros, he added.
Asked whether the EU will send it polls observers, the envoy said the visiting team will put forward a report to their headquarters and then the headquarters will take a decision in this regard.
Later, the CEC told reporters that the commission does not want to engage in any move to bring all the political parties in the election. “Rather, it wants to play a role of referee,” he added.
Replying to a query, he said, “There’re veteran and senior politicians in all the parties. They know well the pulse of people and they maintain contact with grassroots. We’ll do whatever good. We’ re referee here. We should not engage.”
Rakibuddin said from the very beginning he was hopeful for arrangement of the parliamentary elections with the participation of all political parties.
He said the EU delegation discussed technical preparation for the elections and some projects co-financed by the EU.
Asked, he said, “Our objective is the same. We both want transparent, neutral election with the participation of all.
Six other members of the EU delegation are Balthasar Benz, EEAS official and Head of Mission, Mualla Cirakli, official of Foreign Policy Instruments Directorate, EU, Christina dos Ramos Alves, Electoral (Legal) expert, Tom Karl Bil, security expert, Pedro Miguel Pereira de Almeida and Luc Putzold.