October 20, 2023
DHAKA – The European Union will send a four-member observer mission to monitor the 12th parliamentary polls, a top official of the Election Commission said yesterday.
The EU communicated its decision to the foreign ministry, which then sent a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, the official said.
“We have received a note verbale from the EU in this regard,” Election Commissioner Brig Gen (Retd) Ahsan Habib Khan confirmed.
The mission is scheduled to travel to Bangladesh between November 21 and January 21, 2024. These dates are tentative and will depend on the final electoral calendar, he told The Daily Star.
Earlier on September 20, the EU in a letter informed the EC that they would not send a full-fledged election observation mission for the upcoming national polls.
“Based on the recommendations of the exploratory mission and taking into consideration the budget for EU Election Observation Missions for 2023/2024 — High Representative Josep Borrell has decided not to deploy a full-fledged EU Election Observation Mission,” reads the letter by the EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley.
“The High Representative’s decision reflects the fact that, at the present time, it is not sufficiently clear whether the necessary conditions will be met at the point in time when the elections take place.”
The exploratory mission visited Bangladesh from July 6-22 to assess the advisability, usefulness, and feasibility of a full-fledged mission.
Whiteley, in the letter, also said the EU was exploring “other options to accompany the electoral process should these be welcome on the part of the Election Commission and Government of Bangladesh”.
“I will be in touch with you as soon as possible in this regard,” he added.
For the 2018 polls in Bangladesh, the EU did not send a full mission, citing budgetary constraints.
The last time it sent a full mission to Bangladesh was in 2008, when at least 150 EU observers monitored the polls.