The European Union's decision not to send an election observation team underscores the absence of a conducive environment for conducting free and fair elections in the country, BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said on Thursday (21 September).
"The EU's team during their visit to Bangladesh had engaged extensively with stakeholders from all political parties and their unequivocal assessment highlights the challenges in ensuring a fair electoral process," Mirza Fakhrul said this during a press conference at the party chairperson's office in the capital's Gulhsan area today.
The European Union has informed the Election Commissioner via email that due to budgetary constraints in FY 2023-24, they would not be sending a full-fledged observation team for the Bangladesh national election, Election Commission Secretary Md Jahangir Alam told the media.
"It is of no use to say it repeatedly [that the country lacks atmosphere for election] as the government is paying no heed to the message," said Fakhrul.
"The EU had dispatched a top pre-election observation team following the Prime Minister's assurance during her overseas visit, wherein she promised a fair and free election. After talking with various parties they came to the decision that there is no atmosphere for fair election in the country." Fakhrul added.
BNP held the press conference to announce decisions from the standing committee meeting chaired by the party's acting chairman, Tarique Rahman.
Fakhrul said the country could be headed towards conflict if the government does not step down.
He warned that if the current government remains in power, the situation could deteriorate further, and conflict could escalate.
Fakhrul emphasised the historical resilience of the Bangladeshi people in their pursuit of rights and democracy, citing past instances of popular movements.
He noted that despite facing numerous challenges, BNP remains committed to a peaceful movement.
He said the ultimate outcome rests on the government's behavior and actions.