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TIB says Jan 7 polls held one-sided

Staff Reporter:

Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) yesterday said Bangladesh’s 12th parliamentary election on January 7 was not ‘free and inclusive’.
“The overall experience including gains and losses are ominous for the future of Bangladesh’s democra-cy and democratic election, which are contradictory to the spirit and dreams of the glorious liberation war and independence,” according to the report revealed at a press conference at the anti-graft organiza-tion’s office in Dhaka.
Executive Director of TIB Iftekharuzzaman spoke at the event.
The TIB conducted the survey in 50 out of 300 constituencies under its 12th National Parliament Elec-tion Process Tracking.
The country’s main opposition, led by BNP, boycotted the polls after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s government refused to accept its demand that the vote be held under a non-partisan caretaker administra-tion.
According to the report “The election was not free and inclusive due to mutually contradictory and in-transigent positions of the two largest political parties.”
The key elements of the concept of democratic election and national international good practices like free, inclusive and above all, the precondition of a level playing field for free, open and unrestricted competition were not met, the report said.
The report also highlighted the role of the Election Commission and law enforcement agencies.
“The Election Commission,” it said, “sometimes by compulsion in the name of Constitutional and legal compulsion and on occasions by design, played the role of a key catalyst for the realization of the agenda of the one-sided election. Other state institutions, especially law enforcement agencies and administration were also used to play, or played the same role in similar ways.”

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