The Election Commission will formally invite FEMBoSA election observers
The Election Commission is taking a number of steps to encourage foreign observers and journalists to visit Bangladesh and monitor the upcoming 11th parliamentary election.
The commission has given special instructions, to the government and ministries concerned, to take the steps necessary for foreign delegates to come to Bangladesh during the election.
These directives resulted from the meeting of multiple government departments – including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Information, and Ministry of Home Affairs – held on Sunday, about the upcoming general polls, reports Bangla Tribune.
The Election Commission has advised the government offices concerned to provide a Visa on Arrival and police clearance for foreign observers. They also have been instructed to set up help desks at the airport.
The Ministry of Information has been instructed to open information centers to help foreign journalists.
In addition to the initiatives, the Election Commission has sent letters to several Bangladeshi missions so that the interested foreign observers get all the support they need for their visit.
The Election Commission will formally invite election observers from the Forum of Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA).
Officials of the commission said that they will invite two representatives of each of FEMBoSA forum’s member states. The member countries are: India, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The Election Commission will bear all the costs of the FEMBoSA delegates.
Joint Secretary (Public Relations) of the Election Commission SM Asaduzzaman told the reporter: "We have discussed the matter of foreign observers for the upcoming general polls at the meeting. We have notified and provided directives to concerned government departments so that they [foreign observers] face no problem during their visit.”
In the past, during the 2001 and 2008 parliamentary elections, there were a significant number of foreign observers and journalists in the country. In the 2008 parliamentary polls, there were more than 150,000 local and 593 foreign observers monitoring the election.
However during the 2014 national election, that number was reduced to 8,874 local observers and only four foreign observers monitoring the polls.
According to sources within the Election Commission, although many local observers have shown interest in the upcoming national election, foreign observers are yet to show their interest.
In fact, the European Union has informed the government that they will not monitor, or send any of their representatives to observe, the upcoming general polls.