Bangladesh warns poll observers against taking sides

December 23rd, 2008 - 12:45 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 22 (DPA) Bangladesh election authorities Monday warned poll observers of being blacklisted if they are found politically biased during the country’s parliamentary voting, slated for Dec 29.As many as 200,000 domestic and international observers are registered with the Election Commission to monitor the South Asian nation’s first national elections in seven years, officials said.

More than 1,000 foreign observers are expected from the United Nations, European Union, Japan, the US, South Korea and India.

The government earlier relaxed regulations to allow them to obtain visas on arrival in Dhaka.

Chief Election Commissioner A.T.M. Shamsul Huda told an orientation session for observers Monday that they must be totally impartial to retain credibility.

He said there were allegations raised by major political parties against few of the local observer groups.

“If investigation finds the allegations true, you have to face a serious consequence. Such groups may be blacklisted,” Huda said.

The commission has accredited 137 local organisations, which are expected to field observers across the country before, during and after the elections in 300 districts.

Major political parties Awami League and Bangladesh Nationalist Party questioned the neutrality of nearly 20 organisations.

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