Bangladesh’s parliamentary elections before end of 2008

By Xinhua

Dhaka : Chief Adviser of Bangladesh's caretaker government Fakhruddin Ahmed has said the parliamentary elections will be held before the end of 2008.

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In an interview with Voice of America Bangla Service chief Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury, Ahmed reiterated his optimism about the holding of the stalled parliamentary elections before the end of 2008 on completion of all necessary reforms by the election commission.

The chief adviser said that the ban on indoor politics would be lifted at an appropriate time in near future.

"Already political parties spontaneously came up with reforms, there is no difference of opinion on the lifting of the ban. It will be withdrawn in near future at an appropriate time," he said.

Political activities have been banned since the declaration of the state of emergency by the military-backed government on Jan 11, 2007.

Asked about the completion of electoral rolls with photos in time for the elections, he said it took some time to find acceptable candidates for the office of the chief election commissioner and two other election commissioners.

He said the government has agreed in principle to make the election commission independent.

The election commission, he said, has already made some reform proposals to update election rules and regulations and the codes of conduct and has held meetings with representatives of the civil society and professional groups.

"I presume the election commission has made substantial progress in preparing a flawless electoral roll and I believe the momentum of its work will increase in the coming days, enabling the holding of a free, fair and acceptable election before the end of 2008," he said.

Bangladeshi President Iajuddin Ahmed, who also took the post of chief adviser of caretaker government, resigned from the CA post on Jan 11, declared a state of emergency and postponed the Jan 22 election.

Then another caretaker government headed by former central bank governor Fakhruddin Ahmed took office on Jan 12 to stage a credible general election.