As tens of thousands of troops take up positions to stop the opposition blockade of a discredited poll on the 22nd, the United Nations said that it withdrawing assistance in the upcoming poll and that it was “concerned” about the future of democracy in that country. Urging “all parties to refrain from the use of violence” a UN statement said that the “deterioiating situation” in Bangladesh arising from the “political crisis” has “severely
jeopardized the legitimacy of the electoral process.” It further warned that “Bangladesh’s democratic advances and international standing will be affected if the current crisis continues.”
Therefore, the statement said, it will suspend “all technical support to the electoral process” which included “closing its international coordination office for election observers in Dhaka.” The European Union, the Washington-based National Democratic Institute (NDI), and the International Republican Institute have already suspended their respective plans to observe this election. The NDI has confirmed Awami League led 14-party opposition charge that the electoral rolls have been doctored by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) led by Begum Khaleda Zia to include 14 million fake names. Regretting the withdrawal of other agencies, the UN concludes that the lack of "agreement on the conditions for the elections by the election stakeholders” which is a “prerequisite for credible and meaningful elections” makes the election dubious.
Britain's Foreign Secretary Margaret Beckett also “noted with concern the decision by some of the major parties to boycott the elections” and called on the “caretaker government and election commission to create the right atmosphere and effective mechanisms which will make all parties feel able to participate.” The government has insisted on going ahead with plans for elections citing constitutional requirement to hold elections within 90 days of dissolution of the last government. Experts also warn that it would take more than 2 years to compile a new voter list that could be acceptable by the opposition.