Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen. File Photo
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen reiterated his
government's determination to hold free, fair elections in Bangladesh as he
briefed media about Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s daily engagements on the
78th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session’s sidelines in New York on
“To hold a free, fair and non-violent election, all irrespective of political affiliation should exhibit topmost sincerity. InshaAllah, we will be able to hold a free and fair election if everything goes accordingly,” he said.
Replying to a question, Momen said that they are making all preparations to set an example by holding the next general election in a free and fair manner.
To hold the polls in a neutral manner, he said that the Election Commission (EC) was given absolute authority.
The foreign minister said the EC is constituted under a law and the prime minister doesn’t appoint election commissioners.
“Even, the president and the prime minister can’t remove the election commissioners. The EC can suspend, terminate or punish any government employee if they are found involved in irregularities,” he added.
In case of vote rigging, the EC can also cancel the vote of a polling station, he said.
“The Election Commission has been given absolute authority (regarding election),” he added.
About the Bangladesh-US relationship, Momen said Bangladesh has very warm relations with America.
“US President Joe Biden wants to further strengthen and bolster this relationship,” he said.
Mentioning that a friend can give advice to another friend, he said, “We’ve accepted many of their advice. If the advice is objective, we’ll definitely accept those”.
About US visa policy, Momen said the US announced a new visa policy against those who would undermine the election.
He said, “This is good for us as we are out to join the election to be held in a free and fair manner. We want to make sure no one can disrupt the polls and commit violence here. So, the US is working with us. We’re working very closely on the issue”.