We understand that the protests relate to President Iajuddin Ahmed's assumption of the office of Chief Adviser to the Caretaker Government and his performance in that office as the Caretaker Government prepare for Bangladesh's general elections due in January 2007. The Caretaker Government must be judged on their ability to provide an environment conducive for holding free, fair, peaceful and accepted elections while acting in an inclusive, transparent and non-partisan way. We call on the parties to engage constructively and responsibly with the Caretaker Government to achieve this.
It is vital that the Bangladesh general elections are free, fair, peaceful and accepted by the people of Bangladesh and by the international community. The legitimacy of the next Government is dependent on the conduct of these elections. Recent election evaluation missions by UN, EU and United States have consistently identified important points that need to be addressed to ensure elections reach the required standards.
We expect the Election Commission and all officials involved with the electoral process to operate with competence and independence. The Caretaker Government overseeing the elections have a responsibility to ensure that there is no political bias and should act in an inclusive, transparent and non-partisan way. They will be judged on their ability to do so and more generally to provide an appropriate environment for the elections. In this regard the recently announced measures to update the voter list are to be welcomed. We call on the parties to engage constructively and responsibly with the Caretaker Government during their term of office.