Bangladesh's government has announced a date for parliamentary elections, to end
nearly two years of military-backed interim rule.
During a nationally
televised speech on Saturday, government chief advisor Fakhruddin
Ahmed said elections will take place on December 18th. Ahmed says all political
parties will participate in the poll, and that emergency rules will be lifted to
allow for free campaigning.
Bangladesh's government imposed emergency
rules and canceled elections in January of last year, after violence erupted
over opposition accusations that the outgoing ruling party had tried to rig the
Since then, authorities have arrested about 170 politicians on
corruption charges. Former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia were
among those detained. Both leaders recently were freed on bail and have said
their parties will participate in the upcoming election.
Officials with Ms. Hasina's party, the Awami League, today said
they welcomed the announcement of an election date but criticized the government
for not lifting emergency rule immediately.
More on this from our Dhaka stringer, Zahurul Alam.