Bangladesh’s success in international diplomatic polls

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 07:30, May 10, 2019 | Updated : 21:58, May 10, 2019

Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait FILE PHOTOThe UAE, Russia, Turkey and Brazil were vying to get the rights to hold World Expo 2020 and, in 2013, all of them wanted the support of Bangladesh prior to voting in Paris.
When Bangladesh indicated that it would back Russia, UAE did not take it in good spirits; by the time Bangladesh realised the ‘diplomatic ‘faux pas’ it was too late.
For the World Expo country selection, the voting was held till fifth round and while Bangladesh supported Russia in the first round, for the successive rounds she declared support for UAE. After that, prime minister visited UAE twice but the job market has not been opened for Bangladesh as yet.
An official of the foreign ministry, said: “International election and voting is totally political and is linked to bi-lateral relations; consequences for making a mistake here are massive.”
The messages sent by Bangladesh have direct positive or negative impact on her bi-lateral relations.
The security-council voting is the most prestigious where votes are never revealed. In 2017-18, when Italy and the Netherlands competed for temporary membership, Bangladesh openly backed the Netherlands though relation with Italy did not deteriorate after that.
In such international votes, Bangladesh has fared well, taking part in 50 such events in the last ten years. Apart from one disappointment of losing the OIC, the success rate is 100 percent.
One official of the foreign ministry says: “Bangladesh is very cautious in taking part in international elections; election strategy is made after much deliberation and all embassies are engaged in the effort.”
While most electoral campaigns are carried out in New York and Geneva, the respective embassies also carry out their own publicity.
An official says that voting decisions are similar to horse trading.
“When Bangladesh wants vote from another country, that country also asks for promise of support in another vote; or, that country may ask for a vote on behalf of a third nation.”
In 2016-17, Bangladesh wanted to take part in election to be elected to the security-council but withdrew in support of Japan.
Foreign ministry source says that when Bangladesh withdrew candidature, around 60 nations secretly promised to support Bangladesh.
China requested Bangladesh to stay and promised to get votes.
“We do not know if we would have won but if we had stayed then Japan would have faced tough competition.”
In 1978, Bangladesh beat Japan and became a temporary member of the security-council for the first time.