Next polls to make Bangladesh democracy sustainable: PM

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Expressing her firm confidence about holding the next election in a free, fair and neutral manner, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Monday said the upcoming polls in Bangladesh would make its democratic process and constitutional rule sustainable.

“We’ll have to uphold the constitution and to begin the practice of transferring power under a democratic process from a certain stage,” she said.

Hasina said this during a meeting with Commonwealth Secretary General Kamalesh Sharma Monday afternoon (local time) at Hotel Grand Hyatt in New York.

The prime minister arrived in New York earlier in the morning on an eight-day official visit to the USA to attend the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad briefed reporters after the meeting.

Hasina told the Commonwealth secretary general that nearly 6,000 elections at different tiers were held in Bangladesh during the tenure of the present government electing around 64,000 public representatives, and many from the opposition parties defeated the ruling party candidates in those polls.

The prime minister said no one could raise any question about the neutrality of those polls as the government played a very fair role in the elections and did not intervene in the duties of the Election Commission.

“The Election Commission in Bangladesh now totally independent and discharging its duties without any sort of government interference,” she added.

Hasina reiterated that the Election Commission would hold the next general election in a free, fair and fully neutral manner.

Abul Kalam Azad said the Commonwealth secretary general renewed his invitation to the prime minister to attend the next Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in November next.

Kamalesh told the prime minister that her presence is important in the next CHOGM as the meeting will discuss the issue of climate financing for member countries, particularly for the LDCs.

Besides, the next CHOGM will give a special focus on poverty alleviation and the issue of inclusive development of the member states, Kamalesh told the prime minister.

In this connection, he recalled the role of Hasina that she played in the previous CHOGMs.

The premier hoped that Commonwealth would play a more effective role in strengthening democracy in its member countries and protecting the interests of the developing countries in the post-2015 Development Agenda.

PM’s son Sajeeb Wazed Joy, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, PM’s Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, Ambassador at-Large M Ziauddin, Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN Dr AK Abdul Momen and Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Akramul Kader, were, among others, present during the meeting.

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