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Bangladesh’s State Of Emergency Ahead Of Polls

Ban Welcomes Lifting Of Bangladesh’s State Of Emergency Ahead Of Upcoming Polls

New York, Dec 17 2008 1:10PM

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the lifting today of the state of emergency in Bangladesh as “a positive step” towards ensuring the right of all of its citizens to free, fair and credible parliamentary elections, which are slated for 29 December.

“He encourages all stakeholders, including the main political parties, to continue to address the nation’s challenges together, collaboratively and collegially,” Mr. Ban’s spokesperson said in a statement.

The South Asian nation has been beset by political violence and polarization in recent years. Last month, Mr. Ban set up a high-level panel, headed by his former personal representative for Afghanistan, Francesc Vendrell, to assess and report on the conduct of the last stages of the electoral process and developments in the immediate post-election period.

The three-member team, which also includes Bhojraj Pokharel, Nepal’s Chief Election Commissioner, and Aracelly Santana, the former deputy director of the UN Electoral Assistance Division, made its first visit to the country in November and will return there later next week.

Mr. Ban has previously called on the people of Bangladesh to stand against polarization and violence that have characterized past elections

“The Secretary-General reiterates the need for Bangladesh to achieve its full potential for democratic development through credible elections and a peaceful transition to a stronger democratic order following the elections,” today’s statement added.

ENDS

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