Bangladesh's two main political parties have formally launched their campaigns for the December 29th parliamentary election as the military-backed government ended a ban on political rallies.
Bangladesh Nationalist Party leader Khaleda Zia offered prayers today on Friday at Muslim shrines in the northeastern holy city of Sylhet, before addressing a rally of her supporters. She promised to establish good governance if her party wins at the polls.
Her main rival, Sheikh Hasina of the Awami League, launched her party's election manifesto in the capital, Dhaka. She vowed to fight Islamic militancy and boost the economy.
Ms. Hasina and Ms. Zia are both former prime ministers who have ruled the country alternately since 1991. Both women were arrested on graft charges last year, but have been released from prison to ensure that their parties take part in the election.
A Brussels-based think tank, the International Crisis Group, said in a report this week that the political situation in Bangladesh remains "complex and fragile" as the election approaches.