The U.S. State Department has urged Bangladesh to hold free and fair
elections in December, during a rare meeting with that country's former
Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Richard Boucher met with the former Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, in Washington. Ms. Hasina, who is in the United States for medical treatment, faces corruption charges in Bangladesh.
Ms. Hasina cautioned that many in Bangladesh are already cynical about
the elections. She said people's doubts will deepen if local elections
are held ahead of the parliamentary elections in December.
The military-backed government imposed emergency rule and canceled
elections last year after violence erupted over opposition accusations
that the outgoing party tried to rig the ballot.
Since then, authorities have arrested about 170 politicians on corruption charges.
Bangladesh's caretaker government has recently launched a campaign
aimed at cleaning up politics ahead of the national election.
Earlier this week, the election commission said it had completed a
digital voter registration list containing the photographs, and
fingerprints of more than 80 million people.