US expresses disappointment over Bangladesh poll

Washington, Jan 7: The US Monday expressed its disappointment at recent parliamentary elections in Bangladesh, calling for fresh and quick polls arranged through dialogue.

“The United States is disappointed by the recent parliamentary elections in Bangladesh,” Xinhua quoted State Department spokesperson Marie Harf as saying in a statement.

“With more than half of the seats uncontested and most of the remainder offering only token opposition, the results of the just-concluded elections do not appear to credibly express the will of the Bangladeshi people,” she said.

The opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, led by former prime minister Khaleda Zia, and its 17 allies boycotted the elections held Sunday, as the government headed by Sheikh Hasina had refused to let a caretaker government led by independents oversee the polls.

At least 21 people were killed Sunday in election-related violence across the country. The opposition announced fresh strikes and called for abolition of the results, in which the ruling Bangladesh Awami League garnered 232 seats, more than enough to form a new government.

Noting that US commitment to supporting the people of Bangladesh remains “undiminished,” Harf said Washington encouraged the Bangladeshi government and the opposition to “engage in immediate dialogue to find a way to hold as soon as possible elections that are free, fair, peaceful and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people”.

She condemned “in the strongest terms” the violence in Bangladesh, saying “violence is not an acceptable element of the political process.”

IANS