International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute (NDI), with the funding of the United States government, will send an independent and impartial Pre-Election Assessment Mission (PEAM) to Bangladesh.
A six-member delegation and their support staff will visit Bangladesh from October 7 to 13, said US Embassy press attaché and spokesperson Bryan Schiller during an event at the American Center in Dhaka on Thursday.
The event was held to welcome the new mission director of the Bangladesh US Agency for International Development (USAID), Reed Aeschliman.
When asked by a journalist about whether the US will continue supporting Bangladesh in development projects if the forthcoming national elections are not free and fair, Aeschliman said the US wants to see a free, fair, impartial election in Bangladesh that will adhere to the international standard and will be accepted by everyone in Bangladesh. This is the official stance of the US government. But it’s not their job to call for the participation of a person or a political party in the elections. They are not interested in the outcome of the election. They are focused on increasing the institutional capacity to ensure the election process is fair and impartial.
When asked whether the aid Bangladesh receives from US government agencies is hindering Bangladesh from joining the Indo-Pacific Strategy, Aeschliman said US development agencies have been working in Bangladesh for over 50 years. The partnership with Bangladesh on agriculture, food, environment, climate change, trade, and ready-made garments is only growing stronger and will continue to be so in the future.
The spokesperson of the US Embassy said the PEAM delegates will talk with representatives of the Bangladesh Election Commission, various government agencies, political parties, civil observers, civil society, and women’s and youth organisations.
The delegates will also speak with local and international media organisations and representatives of foreign diplomatic missions in Bangladesh.
At the end of the trip, the delegation will issue a public statement in which they will mention if they have any concerns about the election and provide practical recommendations.
After returning to Washington, DC, they will share their experience with international stakeholders and policymakers.
The primary goal of the delegates will be to provide independent and impartial information about the preparation and context for the national election in Bangladesh. It will also give its opinion on whether a limited international election observation mission should be sent on election day.
Earlier in May, the US announced a new visa policy where it declared that anyone they believe to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh won’t be issued a US visa.
UNI MAZ ARN SY