Bangladeshis cannot be foreign observers: CEC

Election Commission (EC) officials on Friday said that Bangladeshi nationals working with foreign embassies or missions will not be treated as foreign observers in the elections to two city corporations in capital Dhaka. The EC officials made the remarks at a press briefing held at the EC Headquarters at the capital’s Agargaon immediately after a closed-door meeting on the eve of the elections to the Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) and Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC).

An EC official on behalf of Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said, “Those Bangladeshi nationals, who are working with different foreign embassies or missions, will not be treated as the foreign observers.” The EC officials told this when a journalist asked the CEC regarding the status of the observers.

According to sources, a total of 1,013 observers from the country and 74 from abroad are supposed to remain vigilant today. Of them, 27 from USA, 12 from UK, five from European Union, six from Netherlands, six from Switzerland, five from Japan, four from Norway, two from Australia, four from Canada and three from Denmark would be on election observer duty.

It should be mentioned that the government has asked the diplomatic missions in Dhaka not to include local employees who are Bangladeshi citizens as the city election observers. “The ministry understands that certain missions are forming teams of election observers to visit different polling booths on the day of the poll,” reads a foreign ministry letter issued to all the diplomatic missions in Dhaka on January 30.

“In this connection, the ministry would like to point out that according to the ‘Guidelines for Foreign Election Observer 2018’ no local employee of a foreign mission having Bangladeshi nationality is eligible to observe the elections as an international observer,” it said.

The letter said that it would appreciate if diplomatic missions in Dhaka do not include their local employees, who are Bangladeshi citizens, in the DCC polls observation teams. Meanwhile, at the briefing, the CEC assured of holding peaceful and fair elections and also urged the voters to take part in the voting.

He said tough actions would be taken if any allegation of partiality were raised against any of the police officers. The CEC said the EC and law-enforcers will ensure security and safety to the agents of different candidates inside the polling centres. He also mentioned that there is no question over the level playing field.