UK envoy wants Bangladesh to avoid ‘obvious problems’ in election

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Dickson attends a dialogue arranged by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association Bangladesh or DCAB at the National Press Club on Wednesday, Oct 27, 2021. Photo: Asif Mahmud Ove
British High Commissioner Robert Dickson has said Bangladesh should avoid “obvious problems” in the next general election.  

The counting of ballots should be “clear”, he said at a meeting with the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh or DCAB in Dhaka on Wednesday. 

“It will be good to have an election where the counting is clear and the obvious problems are avoided,” Dickson said, as Bangladesh prepares to form a new Election Commission for the 12th parliamentary polls.

The EC’s current tenure is ending in February 2022, ahead of the general election scheduled to be held by the end of 2023.     

The UK and other international partners will be “obviously watching with interest preparations being made for institutions, like the Election Commission”, Dickson said. They will “continue supporting plural and democratic practice in Bangladesh”.

He emphasised the inclusion of all parties. “It should be openly contested; it is important that all voices and all political parties are able to participate fully in the election and are able to have confidence that the electoral process is one that each vote will count and how exactly it happens.”

Dickson said the election should be a process driven and led by Bangladeshis who have “plenty of expertise and talents”.

The election should reflect the values of the Bangladesh constitution, he added. “The constitution makes clear what is needed. And lots of people can make sure the constitutional ambition is fulfilled.”

Dickson offered support for a “fair electoral process with protections of voters and participants”.

“It is important the process is transparent and obviously there is a tremendous role from the media.”