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Polls could be the fairest in the world: McCain PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 03 December 2008

Dhaka, Dec 3 ( — US Senator John McCain has said Bangladesh's next parliamentary polls could possibly be "the fairest" in the world.

"It seems to me that with the incredible registering of 80 million people, this has the possibility of being the fairest election, perhaps in the entire world," McCain told reporters at a press conference at ZIA before leaving Dhaka at 9:00am.

"We also understand the much better importance of the upcoming elections.

"And frankly we show our appreciation to the caretaker government and the army for the job they have done and the peaceful transition of power that will return to the elected government."

"So I am optimistic about the result of the election."

He left the capital after an 11-hour regional trip. He and two fellow senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham arrived in the capital from New Delhi Tuesday night .

Foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury saw the US senators off at the airport at 9.00am Wednesday.

McCain, the Republican hopeful who went up against Barack Obama in a historic White House battle this year, said democratic and prosperous Bangladesh was important for the region and the world.

He said he hoped the political parties would follow the examples in the US , accept the polls and both ruling and the opposition parties would closely work after the elections.

He said there were many causes of division in Bangladesh.

"I would like to repeat what my colleagues said, that it is important for everybody to respect outcome of the election and come together as citizens of this great country after the election is over," he said.

"My party is now in the opposition in the Senate, the House and the presidency. But we work and we will work very closely with president as we, the United States, face grievous economic crises since anyone of we have been alive."

"I hope after the elections here in Bangladesh that will also be the case with the opposition party that loses."

McCain thanked the caretaker government and the army for their "efforts to strengthen the foundation of democracy" through reforms.

"Their work is not yet done, and it is now time for an elected successor to continue the reform process already begun and to build democracy and enhance prosperity for Bangladesh's people," said McCain, who has an adopted daughter of Bangladeshi origin.

The US senator said the Mumbai attacked made the world aware that everybody must work together to curb terrorism.

He termed the attacks in Mumbai "unacceptable" and urged Islamabad to cooperate with India to bring the attackers to justice.

"Events at Mumbai, the outrageously and disgraceful attacks, are unacceptable in America and India and in the world.

"We have stated in New Delhi [on Tuesday] that we expect soon the government of Pakistan will cooperate fully with transparency and efforts to track down and bring to justice the evil doers and those were behind this terrible tragedy and outrageous act of terrorism in Mumbai," he said.

McCain said he along with the two US senators had gone to New Delhi to express solidarity with the people of India following last week's horrific attack.

"In fact, we talked to officials of your government about the need for coordinated action to fight terrorism in the region," he said.

McCain had an early morning meeting with chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues including "Bangladesh's transition to democracy".

They also met with the foreign adviser, military leaders and other officials of the government on fighting terrorism and Bangladesh's return to democracy.

Foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury had received the three senators, who landed at Zia International Airport around 10.25pm on Tuesday.

McCain was elected to the US Senate from Arizona in 1986. Senator Joseph Lieberman has represented Connecticut in the Senate since 1988. He was the Democratic nominee for vice president in 2000.

Senator Lindsey Graham has been US Senator for South Carolina since 2002.

All three senators are members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, with McCain serving as the ranking member.


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