The UN has expressed regret at the loss of lives and injuries sustained by candidates and voters in the recently-concluded general elections in Bangladesh and called on all sides to “exercise restraint” and “ensure a peaceful post electoral environment,” where people can maintain their right to assembly and expression. The United Nations (UN) said that it was also aware of reports of irregularities in the polls.
“The United Nations is aware of violent incidents and reports of irregularities in the Bangladesh general elections. We regret the loss of life and injuries sustained by candidates and voters during the electoral campaign and on election-day,” the UN Spokesperson’s office said in a statement Monday.
The UN said that violence and attacks on people and property are not acceptable. “We encourage the parties to address electoral complaints in a peaceful manner and through legal means,” the UN urged, adding that “violence and attacks on people and property are not acceptable,” the statement said.
The world body also welcomed the participation of the opposition in elections for the first time in 10 years. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League and its allies won the general elections on Sunday, bagging 288 of the total 299 seats which went to the polls.
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The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) of the jailed ex-premier Khalida Zia won five seats in the 300-member Parliament. The election was marred by violence, in which 17 people died. The opposition BNP rejected the poll outcome as “farcical” and rigged and demanded fresh election, amid allegations of intimidation.
The Election Commission (EC) ruled out holding fresh polls. The opposition Jatiya Oikya Front – National Unity Front (NUF) – comprising the BNP and some smaller parties, criticised the EC and accused its chief of being biased.