5 January 2009
Secretary-General welcomes restoration of representative democracy
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Mr Kamalesh Sharma, today warmly congratulated the people of Bangladesh for the successful conduct of last week's general elections, which restored representative democracy to the country.
By turning out in record numbers to elect a government, the people had reaffirmed their faith in the democratic process, the Secretary-General said.
Mr Sharma commended the Bangladesh Election Commission for its important role in ensuring a smooth electoral process and a credible outcome. This had reaffirmed the institutional importance and centrality of election commissions in democracies, an area receiving special focus in the Commonwealth. He acknowledged in particular its impressive achievement in completing a nationwide voter registration exercise within a short space of time.
On the eve of her swearing-in as Prime Minister, the Secretary-General congratulated Sheikh Hasina on the victory of her party in the elections. He expressed appreciation for her offer to give the Bangladesh Opposition a more substantive role in the National Assembly. He said the Commonwealth stood ready to work with Sheikh Hasina and her Government in meeting the challenges that lie ahead.
Mr Sharma paid tribute to outgoing Chief Adviser, Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed, and the Caretaker Government he headed, for the role they played in creating the environment for the holding of credible elections and for the co-operation extended to the Commonwealth over the last two years.
A Commonwealth Observer Group was present in Bangladesh for the elections. The Group's report will be made public in due course.
Issued by Eduardo del Buey, Spokesperson & Director, Communications and Public Affairs