EC to be able to hold inclusive polls, hopes PM

19 Jul 2018, 19:53 | updated: 19 Jul 2018, 19:55

NTV Online
PM Sheikh Hasina discussing with German State Minister for Foreign Affairs Niels Annen at her official residence Ganobhaban on Thursday. Photo: PID

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday hoped that the Election Commission will be able to hold an inclusive, fair and neutral general election by the year-end with the support of all political parties, administration and other stakeholders.

She expressed the hope when German State Minister for Foreign Affairs Niels Annen met her at her official residence Ganobhaban, reports the UNB.

PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

In reply to a query about the next general election, the Prime Minister told the German state minister that her party, Awami League, has a long history of struggle for restoration of democracy. 

Democracy suffered here due to military rules as military rulers destroyed democratic institutions and system in the country, she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the Election Commission of Bangladesh is absolutely independent and it has already conducted more than 6,000 elections to the country’s local government bodies under the current AL government.  

‘No election was questionable. Sometimes our rivals won the polls and sometimes we won,’ Ihsanul Karim quoted the Prime Minister as saying.

About the Rohingya crisis, she said Bangladesh wants a peaceful solution to the crisis as it follows the principle of ‘Friendship to all, malice to none’ as framed by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

She said Bangladesh gave shelter to the displaced Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds and provided them with identity cards bringing them under a biometric registration system.

Sheikh Hasina said the Rohingya people outnumbered the local people in Cox’s Bazar and they suffer due to the displaced Myanmar nationals.

The Prime Minister expressed her happiness at the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with German-based Veridos GmbH for implementation of e-Passport project in Bangladesh.

Sheikh Hasina extended her invitation through the visiting minister to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Bangladesh.

At the meeting, the visiting German state minister for Foreign Affairs assured that Germany will continue its support including financial support for the displaced Rohingyas who took shelter in Cox’s Bazar fleeing persecution in Rakhine, Myanmar.

He said the large number of Rohingyas is a huge pressure on the government of Bangladesh.

Putting emphasis on sharing vocational training between Bangladesh and Germany, Niels Annen said Germany has a long tradition of vocational training and it can cooperate with Bangladesh in this regard.

He applauded the socio-economic development of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and called it an ‘impressive' development.

Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Md Nojibur Rahman, Principal Coordinator on SDGs affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office AbulKalam Azad, PM's Military Secretary Maj Gen Mia Md Jainul Abedin, Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Imtiaz Ahmed and German Ambassador to Bangladesh Thomas Prinz were present.

The German state minister arrived here on Wednesday afternoon on a two-day visit to discuss the bilateral issues, including e-passport.