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Bangladesh opposition calls for new election

10-11-2011 09:56 BJT

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Bangladesh's main opposition stages anti-gov't rally

DHAKA, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- Bangladesh's major opposition alliance started a massive campaign Sunday morning with a road march towards northeastern Sylhet divisional city to realize their demands including reinstatement of a non-party caretaker system and resignation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's incumbent government.

The alliance started its two-day road march towards Sylhet city, some 241 km northeast of Dhaka, at 10:00 a.m. local time from the capital, led by main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chief and Leader of the Opposition in Parliament Begum Khaleda Zia.

Zia, former prime minister, at a grand public rally in Dhaka on Sept. 27 announced that her alliance would conduct road marches towards northeastern Sylhet divisional city, Northwestern Rajshahi divisional city and southeastern Chittagong divisional city this month.

The alliance leaders have termed the road march towards Sylhet as the "biggest anti-government program" in recent times, since about 3,000 cars, jeeps and microbus are in the motorcade. Zia will address public meetings at 6 points on the road march of about 241 km from capital Dhaka to Sylhet. She will also address a grand rally in Sylhet Tuesday.

Apart from alliance leaders and activists, many other like- minded political parties, which are also demanding resignation of the incumbent government and reinstatement of the caretaker system, have joined the road march.

In the South Asian country, which has a history of frequent electoral fraud and violence, the caretaker government system was institutionalized through the 13th amendment in constitution in 1996 by the then BNP government under pressure from the then main opposition Awami League (AL).

As the outgoing government handed over their power, the non- party government came into place with its main objective to create an environment in which an election can be held in a free and fair manner without any political influence of the outgoing government. Since 1996, the caretaker government has held the elections of 1996, 2001 and 2008.

Bangladesh Parliament on June 30 this year passed "The Constitution (Fifteenth Amendment) Bill-2011", bringing a series of changes, including repeal of the provision for holding national elections under a non-party caretaker government.

It means that Hasina's incumbent AL-led government, which has two-thirds majority in parliament, will stay in power during the next parliamentary elections slated for early 2014.

BNP and its allies, including key Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami, called on general hartals on June 5, 12, 13 and July 6 and 7 to protest the annulment of the caretaker government system.

Zia during her over one hour speech at the grand rally last month categorically declared that they would not allow holding any parliamentary elections without the non-party caretaker government.


Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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