B'desh to lift ban on indoor politics tomorrow; election in Dec

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Dhaka, May 12 (UNI) Bangladesh will go to the general elections in the third week of December to install an elected government, Chief Advisor of the military-backed caretaker government Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed announced here today.

The general elections, originally slated for January 22 last year, were cancelled following political turmoil over allegation of vote rigging by opposition parties. The violent political agitation led to imposition of the state of emergency that banned all political activities.

In an address to the nation over the state-owned radio and television tonight, Dr Ahmed said ban on indoor politics across the country will be lifted from tomorrow. On withdrawal of the state of emergency, he assured that emergency rules will be lifted or relaxed at an appropriate time to create congenial environment for the election.

The Chief Advisor said his government will sit for dialogue with political parties from May 22.

The Election Commission will spell out the precise election schedule at an appropriate time.

''I hope after this, all questions, doubts and hesitations will come to an end,'' he said, adding ''After December the sun shine of the new year will welcome an elected people's representative government.'' He said it would be made possible only by democracy-loving people, political parties and concerned government and non-government organisations and conscientious citizens of the country.

The Chief Advisor said a national charter will be prepared through the political dialogue with parties and representatives of different classes and professions which will be the basis of the framework of a free and fair election and will led the nation to a sound and stable democratic process.

''It is important to reach consensus before the elections to make the post-election parliament effective,'' Dr Ahmed said, adding it needs guarantee that none will reject the election results and boycott next parliament.

The Chief Advisor called for consensus to maintain the continuity of the reforms done by the current government like separation of the judiciary from the executive, reforms of the Election Commission and Anti-corruption Commission.

He said it was essential to bring about qualitative change in politics. ''We will have to perceive the importance of these issues and iron out clear solutions to these matters.'' Dr Ahmed said ''We've to reach a consensus on discarding negative and destructive politics and end forever hartal (strike), siege and violent protest'' and added the nation no longer wanted to witness any anarchic political activities of the past.

He said election to the upazila (subdistrict), municipal and city corporation were necessary to strengthen the local government and said the government will extend all cooperation to the Election Commission to hold the elections.

Dr Ahmed, however, assured that holding of the local body elections would not hamper the national elections as political parties opposed the local body elections before the general elections.

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