The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Patricia Scotland, who recently visited Bangladesh for discussion with government and opposition parties, called on the Government and the Election Commission to provide a conducive environment for free, fair, inclusive and participatory elections on 30 December 2018.

The Secretary-General has noted with concern reports, over the last several weeks, of violence, intimidation and harassment against several candidates and political party activists. The Secretary-General emphasised the importance of a political and campaign environment free from intimidation and fear, and called on all political parties and stakeholders to participate peacefully in the electoral process.

The Secretary-General  has deployed a two-member senior staff team, who are already on the ground, to observe the poll and to meet with the Electoral Commission and some of the stakeholders who will participate in the election, including the Commonwealth’s international partners in Dhaka.

Scotland called on the Government and people of Bangladesh to uphold the Commonwealth Charter which recognises the inalienable right of individuals to participate in their national democratic processes, in particular, through free and fair elections in shaping the society in which they live.  Scotland said, “The people of Bangladesh must be allowed to participate, nurture and strengthen their national democratic processes and institutions."

The Secretary-General conveyed her best wishes to the people of Bangladesh as they prepare to participate in their national election.