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 ballot.
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.