12:00 AM, December 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, December 12, 2018

US for free, peaceful campaign

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller yesterday laid emphasis on ensuring a favourable environment so that all political parties can continue peaceful election campaign throughout the country freely as the crucial national election takes place on December 30.

"All parties should be free to participate in the polls and political process. They should be free to express their political views, campaign and hold peaceful rallies and meetings," he said.

The US ambassador made the remarks while talking to reporters after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda at the latter's office in the city.

Noting freedom of expression vital for healthy democracy, he said democracy flourishes through frequent and lively debate.

"Everyone, no matter of the political party or sentiment, should act peacefully and responsibly. All should refuse violence," said Ambassador Miller adding, "Violence hinders the democratic process. It only serves those who want to undermine that [democracy]."

The US does not support any party or candidate but it supports democracy and democratic values, he said.

"I encourage everyone to participate in the election process and democratic process by collectively expressing the wellbeing of Bangladeshi people," said the US envoy.

Ambassador Miller said the United States encourages the government of Bangladesh to hold, as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said, a "free, fair and credible election".

He said the US will be supporting election observation teams adding that US-funded National Democratic Institute (NID) sent a five-member pre-assessment mission in October followed by the second pre-assessment mission in December.

Miller said, in cooperation with the UK and Switzerland, it is funding 15,000 local election observers working under Election Working Group (EWG), a consortium of civil society organisations.

The US Ambassador said the NDI's sub-grant partner, the Asian Network for Free Election, has dedicated two international electoral analysts to cover the election and will be sending international long-term and short-term observers.

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