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ANFREL comment on poll based on misinformation: Foreign Office

Published : Monday, 31 December, 2018 at 12:00 AM  Count : 1155
Diplomatic Correspondent

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday termed the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) a 'premature' organization. It also said the comment of ANFREL was based on 'misinformation and premeditated assumption'.
In a statement on Sunday, the Ministry said the 11th national election was being held in a free, fair, festive and peaceful manner in full exercise of the people's voting rights despite 'biased speculations' by many quarters, including ANFREL.
'Odhikar', an NGO of Bangladesh, is the founding member of the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL).
A total of 174 foreign observers and 65 foreign journalists from various countries and organisations observed Sunday's election, said the Ministry.

Some 25,900 local observers from 81 organisations and 7000-8000 local media personnel also observed and covered the election. Earlier the Ministry said, "Odhikar is widely known for its disproportionate bias and prejudice against Bangladesh, in particular the government of Awami League, which is evident in its various reports, including the recent ones published in October and December 2018." The election was conducted by the independent Election Commission, which has over the last five years (2012-2017) successfully organised 6,937 elections at the national and local levels against 4,808 electoral posts, said the Ministry. The Ministry said people of the country earnestly hope that this election will be yet another milestone in Bangladesh's journey to sustained high economic growth, prosperity and inclusion in a democratic environment. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has reiterated her commitment to accept people's verdict, it said.
The EC deployed 66 returning officers, 40,183 presiding officers and 414,624 polling officers to help 10,42,38,677 voters to cast their votes.
Some 1,328 executive magistrates and 244 judicial magistrates were deployed in the polling centers along with 6, 08,000 law enforcing personnel from Police, Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Border Guards of Bangladesh (BGB) and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the Ministry said. The Foreign Ministry said it was possible due to prompt and efficient facilitation by the Election Commission. ANFREL itself has mentioned in its statement that 13 of its 32 observers were already accredited by December 21, 2018, the Ministry said.

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