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Bangladesh: Elections

Volume 705: debated on Wednesday 12 November 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What matters were discussed by Lord Malloch-Brown on his recent visit to Bangladesh; in particular, what discussions were held about whether the Government of Bangladesh will lift the state of emergency before the 18 December elections and the steps to be taken to exclude those committed to trial on criminal charges from standing as candidates. [HL5875]

When I visited Bangladesh in October, I reiterated to the caretaker government, the chief of army, the main political parties, civil society and the media the UK's support for fair and credible elections. I was clear that the election on 18 December would have greater legitimacy if held without a state of emergency. I noted the Government's concern about law and order and their desire to ensure that convicted individuals would not participate in elections. I hoped that the Government and parties would be able to reach consensus on these issues so that the state of emergency could be lifted ahead of elections. I stressed that the parties should have the time and freedom to campaign effectively.