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EU seeks return of democracy in Bangladesh

The European Union supports the military-backed Bangladesh government, provided free and fair elections are held soon to restore parliamentary democracy.

world Updated: May 09, 2007 15:14 IST

The European Union has confirmed that it backs the military-backed Bangladesh government's attempt to fight corruption in politics but wants to see an early return of parliamentary democracy in the country.

"Yes, we are supportive of the caretaker government," British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury said at a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday, which was also addressed by other EU envoys on the occasion of Europe Day.

"This is a civilian government supported by the military; it also enjoys support from the people," he said.

EU ambassador in Dhaka Stephan Frowein, however, said the bloc would like to see Bangladesh return to democracy "provided the conditions are there to hold free, fair and credible elections".

Choudhury, a Bangladeshi born British diplomat, said they would support the caretaker government as long as they were "working towards holding free and fair elections and leaving behind an infrastructure and a set of reforms to ensure a sustainable democracy and high standard of elections in the future".

EU is currently the largest development cooperation partners of Bangladesh, disbursing well over Tk 3,900 crore in 2006 alone.

German Envoy Frank Meyke, representing the current EU presidency, said the EU is encouraged by the Election Commission's (EC) proposed electoral reforms, particularly the move to register political parties and ensure intra-party democracy.

Meyke said they also expected the political parties themselves should move towards democratising their party structures as political reform involves all democratic stakeholders as well.