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US for lifting ban on indoor politics in Dhaka

world Updated: Jun 13, 2007 08:45 IST

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US ambassador in Dhaka Patricia Butenis has urged the military-backed interim government in Bangladesh for lifting the ban on indoor politics to allow parties to contribute to the electoral reforms.

"The longer the ban is kept in place, the more difficult it will be to enact reforms, it is as simple as that," the New Age daily quoted her as saying after a farewell meeting with fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami chief Motiur Rahman Nizami on a Wednesday.

The political parties, Butenis said, were the main ingredients of election and democratic process. "I once again would ask the government to withdraw the ban in the interests of political reforms and assisting the Election Commission for electoral reforms."

Her comments came a week after a visiting European Union (EU) Troika team has said it wants general elections and withdrawal of the ban on indoor politics in emergency-ruled Bangladesh at the earliest. The government ambitions for quality in electoral and political reforms should not slow down the "process".

US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher last month said his country was hopeful that there would a detailed timeline to be announced by the non-party government, leading to the arrangement of a free and fair polls at the earliest.

Bangladesh's election commission also earlier asked the interim administration of Fakhruddin Ahmed to allow indoor politics to facilitate its reform initiatives through dialogue with political parties.

The government, however, was yet to respond to the call though it pledged to stage the polls before the end of 2008 while the election commission said it would take at least 18 months to prepare a credible electoral roll counting from May this year.

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