[QODLink]
Central & South Asia

Bangladesh to forge ahead with elections

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina rejects opposition demands for her resignation as boycotts and blockades called.

Last updated: 26 Nov 2013 01:19
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia has staged a series of general strikes to press for Hasina's resignation [EPA]

Bangladesh's government has announced that it will hold parliamentary elections on January 5 despite a boycott threat by opposition parties.

Soon after the televised announcement on Monday, several homemade bombs exploded in central Dhaka, injury figures are not clear at this time.

The main opposition coalition has vowed to hold a series of nationwide protests unless Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina resigns and transfers power to a non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee the elections.

Hasina has rejected the demand.

Instead, earlier this month Hasina formed what she calls an all-party election-time government to oversee the polls.

Her new 29-member Cabinet includes members of her Awami League party and five other parties, all of them her allies.

Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad announced the election date on Monday, saying the commission will do everything possible to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections.

"Army troops will be deployed to assist the law enforcement agencies so people can vote freely," he said.

Ahmad said he still hopes the opposition will participate.

The main opposition coalition, however, rejected the date and demanded that it be withdrawn.

"We will not accept any farce in the name of elections,'' opposition spokesman Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told a news conference.

Blockades announced

Alamgir said the opposition will blockade roads, railways and waterways for 48 hours starting at dawn on Tuesday.

The Home Ministry said paramilitary border guards have been deployed in Dhaka and several other key cities to help law enforcement agencies prevent any possible violence.

The opposition alliance, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, has staged a series of general strikes to press for Hasina's resignation before the elections.

More than 30 people have died in violence during the protests over about three weeks.

Zia says the polls could be rigged if Hasina stays in office. Hasina has denied the allegation.

311

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
Some scientists say authorities in favour of nuclear energy tend to deny the negative results of researchers.
Report on child sex abuse in British Asian community highlights issues that may affect the entire nation.
Taliban makes quick gains in Afghanistan with little opposition from Afghan army as US withdrawal begins.
Experts from Minamata, Japan check for signs of mercury illnesses in Ontario, Canada.
Record numbers of migrants have made harrowing sea journeys to Italy and Greece this year.
join our mailing list