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Bangladesh's general election to be held on Dec. 18
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11:08, September 21, 2008

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Bangladesh's much awaited ninth parliamentary elections will be held on Dec. 18 this year, Chief Adviser of the Bangladesh caretaker government Fakhruddin Ahmed announced on Saturday.

While addressing the nation over the state-owned radio and television, the chief adviser said his avowed aim is to handover power to a political government through free, fair, neutral and acceptable election to well establish democracy.

"We've never ever deviated from this end," he said.

The general election, originally scheduled on Jan. 22, 2007, was postponed following violent disputes among major parties over the planned rigging in the polls, which also led to an imposition of a state of emergency from Jan. 11 last year.

The current caretaker government headed by chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed assuming office on Jan. 12 last year has pledged to hold the stalled elections in December this year.

On political parties' persistent demand to lift the state of emergency before the parliamentary polls, the chief adviser said whatever is need for holding free and fair elections his government will not hesitate or step back to do it.

"Our pledge and determination will be reflected in the light of nation's aspirations," he said.

He assured that the necessary rules and regulations of the state of emergency will be relaxed or rescind to facilitate the candidates taking necessary preparations and campaign and the election will be held in a lively atmosphere with spontaneous participation of all.

He also announced the elections to local government body of Upazila Parishad (Sub-district Council) will be held in two phases on Dec. 24 and 28.

The country's Election Commission will announce the detail schedules of both the parliamentary elections and the Upazila Parishad Polls at appropriate time, he said.

The chief adviser said the Election Commission decided to hold the parliamentary elections first to avoid any impediment, obstacle or confrontation to switchover to the democratic transition and show respect to the request of majority political parties.

The caretaker government in recent weeks reached understanding with major political parties and released top-ranking leaders including two former prime ministers -- Khaleda Zia and Sheikh Hasina -- to create congenial atmosphere for the elections and ensure participation of all political parties.

Source: Xinhua

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