Washington, DC – IRI today announced it will monitor Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections planned for December 29, 2008.  IRI’s efforts include a short-term international delegation that will monitor voting and ballot counting throughout the country on Election Day, and a long-term delegation that will monitor elections preparations and campaigning in the weeks leading up to the elections.

IRI has deployed a 26-member international long-term election observation mission to monitor the pre-election environment in Bangladesh in the weeks leading up to and just after the parliamentary elections. The IRI-sponsored observation mission will meet with leaders and officials from political parties and domestic and international nongovernmental organizations, as well as with government officials, election administrators, and Bangladeshi citizens.  The mission will assess the political environment and the state of administrative preparations for the elections.

Prior to Election Day, IRI’s short-term observers will be briefed by representatives from the U.S. Embassy, elections officials, international and Bangladeshi nongovernmental organizations, political parties, and representatives of the media.  ey will also be briefed on the rights and responsibilities of international observers and Bangladesh election law.  Delegates will then be deployed throughout the country where they will monitor polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses in Bangladesh’s election system.

In addition to these two international delegations, IRI will also facilitate a delegation of short-term observers fielded under the auspices of the Asia Pacific Democracy Partnership, a new partnership that provides a venue for democratic nations in Asia to work together to support democratic values, strengthen democratic institutions and assist those who are working to build and sustain free societies across the Asia-Pacific region.

Following the elections, IRI’s delegation will issue a preliminary statement of its findings.

Bangladesh’s ninth parliamentary elections were originally scheduled for January 2007.  Political violence and threats to disrupt the election process resulted in the cancellation of the elections and the declaration of a State of Emergency just days before Election Day.

IRI has monitored more than 130 elections since 1983. 

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