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Riaz discusses election observers’ controversy in Bangladesh

Students walking in front of Schroeder Hall on fall day.

Schroeder Hall

Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz has published a commentary on the controversy related to the foreign election monitors in the Bangladeshi election.

A foreign observer recently recanted her earlier comment that the election held on December 30 was free and fair. In an interview with Reuters, the Canadian national, who was one of the observers, has regretted her earlier statement.

Riaz, in his commentary published in the South Asian Monitor, writes that this statement has added voice to the criticisms against the electoral commission for holding a controversial election.

Ali Riaz Headshot

Distinguished Professor Ali Riaz

Riaz also pointed out that while the government discouraged and created hindrances to reputed international election monitors such as the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) and the Global Network of Domestic Election Monitors (GNDEM), it has allowed involvement by dubious organizations such as the SAARC Human Rights Foundation, which “has no affiliation with that inter-governmental body.”

This organization praised the election but now its head is calling for a fresh election due to irregularities.

Riaz said that the Bangladesh Election Commission had “handpicked” monitoring organizations connected to the ruling party. He argued that this is a replication of the Cambodian election held in July 2018.

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