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Bangladesh parliamentary elections on Dec 18


Dhaka : Bangladesh will go to the polls Dec 18 to elect a new parliament, caretaker government chief Fakhruddin Ahmed announced on a nationwide television and radio broadcast Saturday.

Ahmed also said that local polls in over 400 sub-districts would be held on December 24 and 28.

The former central bank governor promised to relax the state of emergency rule during the elections.

The national and local elections were announced in the wake of rising demands from political parties and civil society groups to hold them by the end of December to secure the transition to democratic rule.

Ahmed was appointed to head an interim government by President Iajuddin Ahmad in January 2007 amid threats of a civil war triggered by a violent standoff between the country’s two former prime ministers Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina.

Iajuddin also imposed a state of emergency curbing basic rights and stalled the Jan 22, 2007 general election.

The interim government has been backed by the military which had ruled the country directly for more than a decade.