The interim government in Bangladesh says it will not delay next
month's general election despite threats of a boycott by one of the
country's main political parties.
Government officials on Wednesday said two days of
crisis talks with both of the leading parties had failed to produce an
agreement, and so the elections will go ahead on schedule on December
A spokesman Khondokar Delwar Hossain for the Bangladesh
Nationalist Party condemned the decision. He said the BNP will meet
with its coalition partners Thursday and decide whether to follow
through on its threat to boycott the poll.
In a related development, the Electoral Commission pushed back the
deadline for candidates to register until Sunday. It had been set for
Thursday, and the change is seen as giving all sides a few more days to
try to reach a deal.
The BNP, led by former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, wants the
military-backed government to lift the state of emergency that has been
in place since January 2007 before holding the election.
But its main rival, the Awami League, and its leader, Sheikh Hasina, want the poll to go ahead as scheduled.
The fierce personal and political rivalry between Ms. Zia and Ms.
Hasina has lasted for some 17 years. The two women have alternated
terms as Bangladesh's prime minister until last year, when the army
intervened to stop political violence between supporters of the Awami
League and the BNP.
The December 18th elections are part of the interim government's plan to restore democracy.
Earlier this month, the interim government relaxed provisions of
emergency rule to allow limited campaigning. But it later said
political rallies would continue to be banned until three weeks before
A detailed report by our Dhaka stringer , Amir Khasru