Sat, 20 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

2024 election had less violence: NDI-IRI technical assessment mission

Update : 17 Mar 2024, 19:33

The joint National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI) Technical Assessment Mission deployed to Bangladesh to monitor potential violence before, during, and after the country’s January 7, 2024 parliamentary election has released its final report.

“This report provides a valuable roadmap for more peaceful elections in Bangladesh’s future,” said Manpreet Singh Anand, NDI’s Regional Director for the Asia-Pacific.

“Leaders across the socio-political spectrum – including political parties, the government, and civil society – have a responsibility to reform the rules, practices, and norms of electoral politics toward nonviolence,” he added.

The document provides a thematic analysis of different types of election-related violence and includes recommendations to the Bangladesh Election Commission, the executive and legislative branches of the government, political parties, civil society, and other stakeholders based on IRI’s and NDI’s comparative experience, to mitigate the risks of violence in future elections, in the furtherance of international cooperation and with respect for the sovereignty of Bangladesh.

The mission found that the 2024 national election, including the campaign period, election day and immediate aftermath, had less physical and online violence compared to previous election cycles – primarily due to the absence of nationwide partisan competition and the state’s increased focus on election security, said a media release issued from Washington on March 16.

However, the Mission also found that the quality of the January election was undermined by incidents of violence, as well as a pre-election environment characterised by increased political polarisation, violence among political actors, contracting civic space, and worsening freedoms of expression and association. 

“Election violence is a key deterrent of citizen participation,” said Johanna Kao, IRI’s Senior Director for the Asia-Pacific Division. “For Bangladesh’s elections to be fully inclusive and participatory, all sides need to prioritise nonviolent politics.”

During its stay in Bangladesh, the Mission’s five accredited long-term analysts met with election and government officials, security actors, political party leaders from across the political spectrum, journalists, civil society organisations including those focusing on youth, women, persons with disabilities, and religious minorities, as well as with accredited international observer missions.

This mission follows a joint pre-election assessment mission that NDI and IRI conducted from October 8 to 11, 2023.

The observations from the pre-election assessment mission informed the structure and scope of the technical assessment, which was conducted in accordance with the laws of Bangladesh and consistent with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, endorsed in 2005 at the United Nations.

IRI and NDI are nonpartisan, nongovernmental organisations that support and strengthen democratic institutions and practices worldwide. The Institutes have collectively observed more than 200 elections in more than 50 countries over the last 30 years. UNB 

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