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24 Bangladeshi Lawmakers Defect to Form New Party


At least 24 Bangladeshi lawmakers including two ministers have defected from the government to start a new party ahead of elections in January 2007.

The new Liberal Democratic Party is led by former president Badruddoza Chowdhury and Oli Ahmed, a former minister with the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

The party has been formed as a deadlock between the government and opposition over election reforms threatens to put the elections in jeopardy.

The 14-party opposition alliance led by the Awami League has threatened to boycott the polls unless the proposed interim administration chief and top election officials are replaced. The opposition says the voting will not be fair because the election officials are pro-government.

The government is to hand over power to the interim government at midnight Friday so it can supervise the polls.

Matiur Rahman Choudhury has more on the story.

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