US Ambassador hopeful of fair-festive city polls

Encouraging voters to cast their votes, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller on Monday expressed his hope that the elections in two city corporations of capital Dhaka will be festive, free, credible and participatory. The US Ambassador made the remarks after a meeting with Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda at the Election Commission (EC) Secretariat.

“Election turnout in Bangladesh is often found much higher than the United States,” he told reporters and added that the important thing is that folks go out and vote whatever candidates they choose to vote for. Brig Gen (retd) Shahadat Hossain Chowdhury was with the CEC at the meeting.

Elections to both the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) will be held on February 1. The US Ambassador said that they, along with other members of diplomatic corps, will observe how this democratic process goes during the polls of Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporations.

He said, “It is also encouraging to hear that people on both sides of the political spectrum are looking at each other as worthy candidates and whoever win will be the leaders of Dhaka.” Encouraging all voters to participate in the process, the US envoy said that it is not an easy process but a “vitally important” one.

He laid emphasis on allowing voters who want to cast their votes are allowed to do so. The US Ambassador said the officials explained him about the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the February-1 city corporations’ polls. On December 22 last, the CEC announced the election schedule for the polls fixing January 30 as the voting date but the date was rescheduled for February 1 as January 30 coincided with Saraswati Puja.