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UN suspends technical support to Bangladesh polls

UN has suspended all technical support to Bangladesh's electoral process following the Awami League's decision to boycott polls.

india Updated: Jan 15, 2007 15:54 IST

The United Nations has suspended all technical support to Bangladesh's electoral process following the Awami League-led alliance's decision to boycott the January 22 parliamentary polls.

"The political crisis in Bangladesh has severely jeopardised the legitimacy of the electoral process," a spokesperson for the UN secretary general in New York said on Thursday in a statement.

The UN has closed down its International Coordination Office for Election Observers in the country.

The EU, US-based National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) also decided to suspend election observation missions.

The UN spokesperson said the cancellation of numerous international observation missions is regrettable.

According to him, the UN is deeply concerned by the deteriorating situation in the country, and urged all parties to refrain from the use of violence.

The UN asked the caretaker government and election commission to create a level playing field and ensure parties can have confidence in the electoral process.

The international body is concerned that Bangladesh's democratic advances and international standing will be negatively affected if the current crisis continues, he added.

It urged all concerned to seek a compromise that will serve the interests of peace, democracy and the country's overall well-being.

The Awami League alliance led by Sheikh Hasina pulled out from the general elections on January 3, alleging that the present caretaker government and the Election Commission are biased towards former prime minister Khaleda Zia's four-party alliance.

The alliance demanded the resignation of President Iajuddin Ahmed from the office of chief advisor of the caretaker government and fresh elections by correcting the fake voters' list.

Khaleda Zia, chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), has accused her opponents of frustrating the democratic process in the country by boycotting the election.

The BNP-led government ended its tenure October 27 last year and handed over power to a caretaker government led by the president.

According to the Bangladeshi constitution, a caretaker government is to organise the country's general elections within 90 days of assuming power.